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At This Hour

Three Back-to-Back Shootings in California; Germany Receives Poland's Request to Transfer Tanks; Ukrainian Report Outlines Wagner Mercenaries' Brutality; Former Top FBI Counterintelligence Official Aided Russian Oligarch; U.S. Senate Hearing on Ticketmaster Fiasco. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired January 24, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone. AT THIS HOUR, California's third mass shooting in just 48 hours. What we know now about the suspects and what we're learning about the victims.

Plus, Ukraine's president, he just fired several top officials amid a corruption crackdown. What that means to the war effort now.

And Ticketmaster is in the spotlight. A Senate hearing digging into the Taylor Swift fiasco. That is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.


BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan.

Another deadly mass shooting in California. It is the third in three days. This is in a state with some of the strongest gun laws in the country. Seven people were killed in Half Moon Bay south of San Francisco. The gunman attacking two plant nurseries.

And in a wild twist, the arrest of the suspect all played out before TV cameras. Police apprehended the 67-year-old suspect within hours of the killing. He is believed to work at one of the locations that he attacked. Let's begin with Veronica Miracle in Half Moon Bay with the latest on this investigation.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this horrific mass shooting took place at two different locations here in Half Moon Bay, about five minutes from each other.

That first 9-1-1 call came in just before 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday. Deputies receiving a call of a shooting with multiple victims. And when they arrived at the first scene, they found four bodies and a fifth person critically injured, who is still in the hospital.

Then a short distance away they found another three bodies, bringing the victim total to seven people killed by gunshot injuries. About two hours after that initial 9-1-1 call, a deputy discovered 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, in the parking lot where he was turning himself at a police substation. He was arrested and taken into custody relatively without incident.

All of it happened right in front of news cameras because it happened at the police station. Police say they do not have a motive. They don't know why this happened. But they believe he worked at one of the locations where these shootings took place. They believe he acted alone and that there was no longer a threat to this community.

Of course, people here are reeling and here is what the vice mayor had to say.


SHERIFF CHRISTINA CORPUS, SAN MATEO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: At 4:40 pm, Zhao was located in his vehicle, in the parking lot of the sheriff's substation here in Half Moon Bay, by a sheriff's deputy. Zhou was taken into custody without incident and a semi-automatic handgun was located in his vehicle.

Zhou is believed to have acted alone and there is no further threat to this community.


MIRACLE: Kate, earlier this morning on CNN, the mayor here of Half Moon Bay telling us that apparently these victims were farm workers. Many of them were Chinese. This is all happening after another mass shooting took place in Monterey Park in southern California. Very similar, very eerie.

And the fact that both of the suspects were older Asian men, all of this happening in what is supposed to be a very joyful time for many Asian communities after Lunar New Year, after this happened in both communities. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Veronica Miracle, thank you so much for that.

That shooting in Half Moon Bay happened about 400 miles from the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. We're also now learning more about what happened there as well as more about the victims. The death toll now stands at 11 people killed in that shooting. Kyung Lah is in Monterey Park following all of this.

What are you hearing now?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start with where you just ended there, the number of people who have been killed. The death toll did increase overnight where there is now a total of 11 people who have died.

We have learned of four people, four people who have been identified out of the 11. And the thing that is really striking, Kate, is the age of these victims. People who came to these dance halls are older, older Asian Americans. And so this has really struck at this community.

What police do not know right now is the exact motive. They do understand that the gunman had a connection to this dance hall here in Monterey Park, that he had met his ex-wife at this establishment or the one in Alhambra. And that he had frequented these places. But what they don't know is exactly why and why now.


LAH: What they have been able to recover is the amount of ammunition from the gunman's home. What investigators are now telling us is that they did recover an additional rifle, hundreds of rounds of loose ammunition as well as homemade firearm suppressors.

Also here at the dance hall, they've been able to recover 42 shell casings and a large capacity magazine. And an additional weapon was found in the van that the suspect did end his life.

So through all of this there has been so much trauma. You heard Veronica talking about this, the trauma in this community as they struggle to understand why a 72-year-old man would enter a joyous populated place and hurt so many people. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Kyung, thank you for being there. I really appreciate it.

So there have been 39 shootings, mass shootings in the United States in just the last three weeks. The U.S. has now seen more mass shootings in 2023 than at this point in any year on record.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, nearly 70 people have been killed and the number of victims is climbing nearly every day from the mass shootings that we're tracking. Joining me now for more on all of this is CNN senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI.

Thanks for being here. So this is California's third mass shooting in just 48 hours. And in Half Moon Bay they have the suspect in custody. There is that wild video of him being apprehended before cameras. The sheriff's office has said that he is cooperating with investigators.

How does that change things, when you're looking at these mass shootings in quick succession?

What are they likely doing now since they do have this one suspect in custody?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So these two cases, as similar as they seem, close in time, kind of the descriptions of the perpetrators, there are some key differences here. And the principle one being, at Half Moon Bay, you have a live perpetrator suspect, who will be a defendant in a criminal action.

Which means you need to be able to stage a successful prosecution of that individual. So the investigators are very carefully collecting evidence that will be used in a homicide trial likely that he will face in the future. So they have to be very careful about how they interact with him. It is great that he's cooperating.

But he, of course, needs to be given advice of rights and see an attorney and be presented in court and officially charged. They're going to go and look through all of his residence, through anything that might contain a writing or evidence of planning, evidence of malice aforethought, which is what you need to prove in a murder case.

So they'll be looking at his social media accounts, if he has any. They'll look at his electronics devices and any that might preserve evidence of this man's intent. We know what he did. We have the forensics at the scene. He's in custody.

But we still need to prove a case in court. Very different, obviously in Monterey Park, where your subject is deceased.


One concern after back-to-back mass shootings is did one inspire the other?

Did the first accelerate the second?

I don't know if it is knowable.

But what do you think about that here?

MCCABE: It is a really good question, Kate. And you know, you have a subject who is cooperating. And so maybe he actually gives you a statement to that effect. Maybe he said, I was mad at these people for six months and I didn't know what to do about it until I saw what happened in Monterey Park.

That would be an indicator of that sort of inspiration. Or, you know, somebody who he's modeling his behavior after, another shooter. It is certainly possible. Excuse me.

But until you get solid evidence like that, it is really just speculation and, quite frankly, not very helpful for us to speculate.

We need to know, the communities need to know what motivated each of these shooters, so they can understand how to kind of move on from this tragedy, how to protect themselves and what sort of threats might be out there.

BOLDUAN: There is also this crazy story I do want to ask you about with your background in the FBI. There is -- it is obviously very separate from the mass shootings that we're talking about.

But while I have you, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI's New York field office has now been charged with allegedly concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars that he received from someone connected to an Albanian intelligence agency while he was with the FBI.

And then after he left the agency, he allegedly worked a Russian oligarch, this oligarch being under U.S. sanctions. And he's pleaded not guilty to these charges.

You know Charles McGonigal, the official that I'm talking about.

What is your reaction to this?

MCCABE: I mean, to say that I'm stunned or shocked really doesn't even capture it. I do know Charles.


MCCABE: I've known him for years. I worked with him in different positions. He was someone who had -- he was unbelievably respected as a professional and a national security professional and specifically in the area of counterintelligence and the FBI.

So to hear these charges, it is just incredibly shocking. I should say that the charges are very serious. FBI agents are not allowed to travel overseas without reporting it. They're not allowed to meet with foreign officials without reporting it.

They certainly are not allowed to take income from any source, other than the FBI, unless they've been approved for that. And the reasons are all of those things could raise this question of divided loyalty.

And that is incredibly serious when your job is protecting the United States of America and our national security. So we need to get to the bottom of this.

It is a sad day in the FBI to see this -- these kind of charges against someone who we all respected and worked with. But I'm confident that the bureau will get to the bottom of this entire issue.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for coming on, Andy. I appreciate it.

And there is a new development with the mass shooting that, you will remember, at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. CNN has learned that the man accused of killing nearly 2 dozen people at that store back in 2019 plans to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges. Rosa Flores is live for us with details from Texas.

Rosa, bring us up to speed.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You flow, Kate, and this appears to be a change in plea and the timing is very interesting. So there is a lot to unpack.

Patrick Crusius is accused of killing nearly 2 dozen people and injuring nearly 2 dozen others at a El Paso Walmart in 2019. This is considered to be one of the deadliest attacks against Latinos and specifically Mexican Americans in modern U.S. history.

According to the federal indictment, he faces around 90 counts. And these are for hate crime and also for the use of a firearm to commit murder. Now he had pleaded not guilty to these charges.

And here is where the timing becomes interesting because, last week, federal prosecutors made it known that they would not be seeking the death penalty. Now prosecutors are not explaining the reason why they made this decision.

Well now, this week, what we're learning today from federal documents, court documents, is that Crusius now plans to plead guilty to the federal charges and that he will be back in court on February 8th.

And the court has made it known that his motion will be accepted. Now this is on the federal charges. Now there is a separate state charge, separate case, separate charges. And on those charges, Kate, it is important to note that the district attorney from El Paso has already made it known that the death penalty will be sought. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Much more to come on this. Thank you so much for bringing us up to speed.

So it was the concert ticket mess that was nothing short of a debacle. And because of it, Ticketmaster is now in the hot seat and testifying before Congress right now.

What really happened with the Taylor Swift concert ticket fiasco?

Will it spark real change in this industry?

Ticketmaster's former CEO joins us next.





BOLDUAN: This may sound strange but if you like live music, you may want to watch Capitol Hill. The president of Live Nation, Ticketmaster's parent company, is getting a grilling before the Senate right now.

They are focusing on the company's ticketing systems and what the committee calls the lack of competition in the ticketing industry. Today's hearing is a response to Ticketmaster's meltdown last year during presales for Taylor Swift's new tour that left so many fans empty-handed and it has led to a class-action lawsuit.

Matt Egan is tracking this for us.

The hearing is ongoing.

What has happened so far?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Well, Kate, we're hearing a lot of Taylor Swift puns, as you could imagine. But we're also hearing explanation from Live Nation and an apology.

They are blaming this meltdown on this perfect storm of unprecedented demand for Taylor Swift tickets, also this flood of traffic from bots. And for the first time, they're pinning some of the blame on cyberattacks.

Now the company is trying to shake it off. But that is not going to be easy here because they're facing this intense backlash, not just from Swifties angry about what happened but also from lawmakers.

We heard Democrats like senator Amy Klobuchar claim that this company has too much power. And even some Republicans are chiming in. Listen to what Lindsey Graham said.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The big theme here today is consolidation of power in the hands of few can create problems for the many. And out of this hearing, I hope we could make a better experience for the consumer being able to buy tickets to things that you want to see without such a debacle.


EGAN: Now GOP senator Mike Lee, he also used this debacle to criticize the Obama administration, questioning whether or not the Obama Justice Department should have allowed the 2010 merger that created this company, the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, and whether or not it gave too much power.

I think what is so interesting here is this episode has shined a bright light on what is normally a wonky issue, whether or not some companies have just gotten too dominant.


BOLDUAN: Yes, and this has happened before when it comes to Ticketmaster and now it is back in the spotlight again. It is good to see you.

This hearing is ongoing. We'll see what more comes of it.

In the meantime, joining me now is Fred Rosen. The former CEO of Ticketmaster.

It is great to have you, Fred. Thank you for coming in. There are several issues to discuss. But first and foremost, what got Ticketmaster and Live Nation in the spotlight in before Congress right now is the Taylor Swift meltdown, the ticket meltdown.

Customers waiting for hours, the site crashing, presale codes not working, fans upon fans not able to get tickets or left empty handed after they thought they had purchased tickets.

On that alone, do you see that, when you see this company now, do you see this as a company that is working well?

FRED ROSEN, FORMER CEO, TICKETMASTER: Well, I might have a slightly different perspective. There were 3.5 billion attempts to get into the system. Ticketmaster sold $500 million worth of tickets in one day.

What no one is paying attention to is that, when you have a run, you can't have a run on banks and the New York Stock Exchange has circuit breakers. If I was still there, I think there should be a mechanism when you get that kind of demand. The system has to shut off so that you could have a orderly distribution of tickets.

And I think part of the problem is that, because of the emotion that is connected and the concert sale, no one wants to deal with the logic of this. You cannot satisfy -- first of all, there were fewer tickets to satisfy the demand. So that starts with problem one.

Problem two is there is no system on the face of the Earth that is going to deal with 3.5 billion attempts in the first half hour or 45 minutes. Systems are going to blow up. But when you don't have the ability to shut them down and create an orderly market, that is a problem.

And you have to look at this from the fact that she had not toured for a long time.

Should all of the tickets have been put on sale at the same time?

Which I don't think they should have done but it's my understanding that is what the actor (ph) wanted and Ticketmaster has to do what the acts and the promoters want and Ticketmaster becomes the fall guy for all of this.

Now a lot of people will say that's an excuse. It's not an --


BOLDUAN: -- I'm not going to blame the excuse, I'm going to say, but I do want you -- because there is the conflict here of what the artists often say and we know that Taylor Swift, in this regard, put the blame of this debacle on Ticketmaster.

And part of what she said is, "I'm not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand. And we were assured they could."

Other artists, Fred, blame Ticketmaster for being the only game in town and taking too big of a cut. There is a lot of things at play.

What do you say to these artists?

ROSEN: Well, my view is this. First of all, it is like when you read the stories that Ticketmaster canceled the sale the next day. They didn't cancel the sale. They don't have the power.

One of the things that gets lost in all of this, because of all the noise -- and I created the company so I'm pretty sure I understand the dynamic -- we created ourselves, to a certain extent, to be the fall guy.

But the numbers of tickets that go on sale, when things go on sale, how many shows go on sale, when shows happen, those are all determined by the promoter and the artist and the venue. Ticketmaster is a service company to all those people and controls none of that, including the pricing.

Ticketmaster does not have the unilateral right to control the pricing in any particular issue.


BOLDUAN: And we did hear that. We did hear that in the opening statement, in the opening statement from Berthold just now at the Senate hearing.

Another witness at this hearing is Seat Geek, who said very clearly, the CEO said, that Ticketmaster and Live Nation should be broken up and that it is anti-competitive. Now one of the statements going into this hearing from Seat Geek on taking on Ticketmaster and Live Nation, let me read this to you, Fred.

He said, "Ticketmaster's outage, recovery time and continued lack of solution are the results of a monopoly's complacency. Live Nation/Ticketmaster have boxed out competition in the space, particularly around Verified Fan but also more broadly across their entire ticketing solution.

"No competition means no incentive to innovate and iron out problems that they've experienced in the past."

What do you say to that?

ROSEN: If I told you what I really thought, I don't think I could say it on public television. Look, when we started, there was one big company called Ticketron. We lost money for three or four years before we got -- started to grow.

It is a function of, is the system better?


ROSEN: Does it work?

Is it more efficient in terms of what it provides to the clients?

And then you have to look at people, consider the source. If they were a better ticketing company, they would be Ticketmaster. If their technology was better, they would be Ticketmaster.

And the answer is, to me, a lot of these people use this as an excuse because being bigger creates issues of what people think you're taking advantage. And the truth of the matter is, when Ticketmaster was created, and as I said before, I'm aware of it because I did it.

The fact of the matter is we created it to take the heat for everybody. And so you become what I call the scheduled whipping boy. But the truth underneath all of this is, when the perspective that you have to deal with in terms of how you do this is, anybody who is not sitting in Ticketmaster's position is, of course, they're going to complain.

But my view is make a better system and compete. And if you're better, you'll beat the company. And if you're worse, you'll complain.

BOLDUAN: What -- do you think there is one change that could improve this and make this better so Ticketmaster doesn't face this again?

ROSEN: Yes, I think they have to create, like the New York Stock Exchange, you need a circuit breaker. When you have this many people showing up at the same time, there is no system that could handle this.

So you say -- and you said it at the beginning and you're somebody who I respect a lot. You said it's a fiasco.

Well, how many companies could take in $500 million in one day?

The stock exchange companies can and the banks can and maybe Amazon can but most people can't process $500 million in one day.

So what is unfortunate is this. It is the emotion that is attached in this process. And the emotion makes everything crazy.

And think of this, why do people sit in the last 10 rows of an arena?

Why do you go to the Buffalo game and sit there and freeze when you could watch the game at home and it is snowing?

Because you can't regulate emotion. And emotion and demand creates price. And Ticketmaster doesn't create that.

BOLDUAN: It is great having you on. I appreciate it. One of the least controversial things that I said today and will say for the rest of the day is that that one was a fiasco. That is for sure. Thank you for coming on.

We have to turn to breaking news. Very serious breaking news just coming in. We have another deadly shooting in America. We've just learned three people have been killed in Washington state. Just getting new details in. We'll take a quick break and reset on this and bring the details after this.