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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Search & Rescue Enters Day 12 After Rest of Building Demolished; Tropical Storm Moving in As Search Resumes in Surfside; Biden Strikes Optimistic Tone as U.S. Misses His 70 Percent Vaccine Goal & Aggressive Delta Variant Spreads; Canada's Low Level of Gun Violence; Murder on the Golf Course; U.S. Leaving Afghanistan; Why Canada's Gun Violence is Fraction of U.S.; AAA: This Afternoon Among Busiest Hours For July 4th Travel. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 05, 2021 - 16:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: A new obstacle for the rescue operations in Florida.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The rest of the Surfside building is demolished, and it could give rescuers new ways into the debris. The clock is ticking with a tropical storm on the way.

And the White House just missed a major goal and there's serious concern about this dangerous new variant in the U.S. How can the U.S. stamp out COVID?

Plus, country club killings. A golf pro and two others found dead on the 10th hole of a country club, and police are still trying to figure out why.


BROWN: Welcome to this special edition of THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper. I hope everyone has had a great Fourth of July.

And we begin today in the national lead and the rising death toll in the Surfside, Florida, condo collapse. Twenty-seven people are now confirmed dead. 118 are still missing at this hour. Search and rescue efforts picked back up this morning just hours after the remaining units of the Champlain Towers' South condo building were demolished.

Survivors left without a home and all their personal belongings because they weren't allowed to get back in to get those family photos, clothes and print documents, all now part of a new pile of rubble which officials say was necessary as a new threat approaches.

CNN's Rosa Flores starts us off from Surfside. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took seconds for the standing portion of the Champlain Towers South to come down.

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Truly we could not continue without bringing this building down. As we speak, the teams are working on that part of the pile that was not accessible before the building was demolished.

FLORES: The controlled demolition, authorities say, a necessary step, given the threat of approaching Tropical Storm Elsa whose impacts could arrive starting tonight.

MAYOR CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: That storm initiated a conversation about the necessity to bring that building down because the worst thing that could have happened was to have a storm come in and blow that building down on top of the pile.

FLORES: A lot of emotions for the surviving residents, as families were not allowed to enter the structure to get their belongings.

BURKETT: The icing on the cake for their disaster. You know, they were evacuated. They saw their friends and neighbors, some of them killed, some of them missing, and now they've lost everything.

FLORES: Absent the teetering structure, first responders were allowed for the first time to target areas deemed no search zones due to their dangerous proximity to the once standing partial structure.

CAPT. IGNATIUS CARROLL, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER, CITY OF MIAMI, FLORIDA, TASK FORCE 2: Now that that tower has been brought down, we're able to focus our efforts on that area that was unable to be searched.

FLORES: On day 12, officials are still calling it a search and rescue mission, but the commander of the Israeli search team preparing surviving families for the worst.

COL. GOLAN VACH, COMMANDER, ISRAELI NATIONAL SECURITY UNIT: I said to the families two days ago that the chances to find somebody alive is close to zero. I'm realistic, but we are still full of hope.

FLORES: New internal documents obtained by CNN shedding the new light on the urgent need for $15 million worth of repairs that were delayed for years. One of the slides in a series of presentations from the fall and winter of 2020 was titled "Why we have to do all of this now." Another section said the driveway on top of the garage had poor drainage, design flaw. And a third said there's no waterproofing layer over the garage, driveway or any area except the pool deck and planters. This exposed the garage to water intrusion for 40 years.

Where there is waterproofing, it has failed. Water has gotten underneath and caused additional damage to the concrete. When asked if the design flaws were being investigated, officials said it's too early to talk about the investigation. ALFREDO "FREDDY" RAMIREZ, DIRECTOR, MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT:

We're focusing on recovering victims right now. This will be a long process, as it's being stated, and it will be very thorough.

FLORES: But with ever troubling document on Earth, says Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, the concerns grow over the occupied Champlain Towers North, a sister building that was built about the same time.

BURKETT: There is some anxiety about the sister building which is really got the same name, same developer, same plans, probably the same materials. Until we know why, this building fell down, that one's in question.



FLORES (on camera): I just got off the phone with one of the captains on the scene and he tells me that right now, they're focusing on searching the bedrooms in this condo complex. They say that that's where they believe that most of the people that are missing were at 1:30 in the morning when this condo collapsed.

Now, the National Weather Service tweeting that the surrounding areas are under a thunderstorm warning. If you can just look around, Pam, you can see it's pouring. I asked this captain and this is hampering the search. And he tells me that right now, there are still brave men and women on that pile of rubble looking for signs of life -- Pamela.

BROWN: They've been tireless from the get-go. Thanks so much, Rosa Flores.

And on that note, about the weather there, the rain we saw, let's go to CNN's Tom Sater. He was tracking Tropical Storm Elsa.

So, what does it look like to you when it comes to Surfside and Elsa? Does it look like Elsa will hit it?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I tell you what? She just mentioned there was a severe thunderstorm warning. That validates right there, really, the decision to bring down this building. Inside that severe thunderstorm warning was a tornado warning just west of downtown Miami. I'll show it to you.

You can actually see it in the infrared imagery. See how red it is to the north, that batch is moving through now. But this is an elongated system. So, parts of Cuba could see, you know, 10, even up to 15 inches. We're in the going to see that in Florida, maybe four to six inches.

But the track has been shifting westward, which is nice. Several days ago the cone of uncertainty included Surfside. So, that got them to think, well, we've got to do something. Even though it's moving to the west doesn't mean they're out of this completely.

In yellow are the tropical storm force winds that are sustained. You can get gusts outside this area, but it will move up the western coast. But as we have landfall, which will be Wednesday morning, more like, Cedar Key, maybe even north of there. Tampa is going to get into it. The probability, and this has been the main concern, not just rain, but the winds.

So, when you look at tropical storm force winds and the probability, right now it's great, it's mainly offshore for the greatest amount. But then you start getting Fort Myers, almost 50 percent, Tampa 40, and Gainesville 45. But that doesn't mean we're out of it yet. See that 7 percent in Surfside? Outer bands, even though this time of year these are not monstrous storms. And I doubt this will even get back to a hurricane, it's possible, but I doubt it.

But you'll start to see -- remember how red it was at the top of the infrared satellite imagery. Look at the lightning moving in. We're getting closer and just moments ago, we had a severe thunderstorm warnings and a tornado warning. That right there validates them taking down the building, Pamela. So, again, rainfall, sure, they're still into it, not near as much as they're going to see but for the crews on the ground, tonight overnight and you get some of these outer bands, the worst of it will be probably through tomorrow morning, maybe noon.

But because of the flow of these bands moving onshore, all it takes, like we just saw, is one thunderstorm to spin up a small tornado or a water spout to move onshore. So, that I think is their biggest threat. If they're working through a severe thunderstorm warning, I'm kind of amazed with that. They're not going to be in the clear of this until late tomorrow.

Then we'll have landfall farther to the north. Not a monster storm, thank goodness. But for them, it's close enough.

BROWN: All right. And that helps us transition to our next segment. Thanks so much, Tom.

Let's discuss all this with Craig Fugate, a former FEMA administrator who also served as Florida's emergency management chief for several years.

Craig, we just heard what Tom laid out there. We know the conditions on the ground in Surfside, what is coming their way.

What does all of that mean for the rescue mission?

CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, it means they have a safety officer whose only job is really looking at the weather, timing. They're talking to the National Weather Service office in Miami. They're going to watch the storm, warm the severe thunderstorms. They're going to watch for lightning. And when they have to call a stop, they will.

But that safety officer talking to the weather service, they're not going to pull the trigger just because it's uncomfortable or raining. They'll only pull them if there's danger to the rescuers.

BROWN: And so, that is why, at this point, there's still rescue workers there going through the rubble because that call hasn't been made yet. So, it's a really interesting perspective.

I want to ask you about something that is just so delicate, but also you have to talk about the reality so many days after the collapse of the building. A member of the Israeli rescue team said that chances to find somebody alive, they're close to zero. As hard as it may be, should officials change this to a search and recovery mission?

FUGATE: I think the answer is the families are going through this process. It doesn't help for external folks to say what stage we're in. The families are going to go through this. I think what's important that you've heard from the governors and others on the ground, they're not going to stop until they have given closure to all the families, meaning they have found everybody.


And so that search will continue. Whether or not we find more -- any survivors, we don't know yet, but the rescue operation and the transition is more words, but for the families, it's their reality.

But the most important thing is the crews are not stopping. They're not slowing down. They haven't lost urgency. And they're going to work to give everybody closure by identifying and recovering everybody from that rubble pile.

BROWN: Understandably. But just to follow up on that, do you think in a sense it could give false hope to some of these families? Or what is your assessment of the situation on the ground so many days after the collapse?

FUGATE: Well, again, we know the chance of survival has gone down tremendously. I think this is something that the local officials are being very conscious of. They don't want to give false hope.

But my experience in these disasters, families will move at their own pace. They will come to accept what has happened. It is the uncertainty of not knowing that for many families is the biggest challenge, I mean, just not knowing. That's what's so important to give closure to, make sure everybody has recovered from that building.

BROWN: Multiple buildings in the Miami area have now been evacuated over the past few days over safety concerns. What federal resources are available to them? They've suddenly had to evacuate their homes?

FUGATE: Well, again, the president has already declared an emergency for the immediate impacts of the disaster, and they're working with the state as additional assistance is needed, the state can coordinate with FEMA.

But again, I'm afraid we're not done here. We may see other buildings across the country that have similar characteristics that we may find need immediate repairs or may need to be evacuated. So, it's important we find out what happened, we identify that, so we can make sure that other buildings that may have similar risks are discovered and are addressed in a timely manner.

BROWN: So many people all over the world have donated money to the victims. Help us understand how that money gets distributed.

FUGATE: Well, it depends. What we did when I worked for Governor Bush was, we worked with our volunteer Florida foundation and used the funds that came in from across the country, from other governments, used it to fund the local organizations that were on the ground helping, a lot of the non-profits, a lot of groups that were not just the survivors and their families, but also the rescue workers that were there. So, you'll see a lot of groups there.

What we have tended to see is the first money going out to support the local groups that are already engaged, and then at some point, look at the unmet needs of the individuals, whether it's funeral expenses or other things. Again, we have to understand that FEMA has also been directed by President Biden to provide assistance. So, it's a coordination effort.

More importantly, I think, that people understand that in this situation there's a process to make sure as money is collected from these groups, you've seen what the mayor and the governor are doing, that it gets to groups that will help and ultimately looks at the unmet needs of those families.

BROWN: OK. Craig Fugate, thank you so much for joining us.

FUGATE: Thank you.

BROWN: President Biden failed to meet his vaccination goal for the nation. So will he set a new one? What we're learning about the administration's plans up next.

Plus, at least 150 people killed and more than 400 shootings across the U.S. this Fourth of July weekend. What the U.S. might be able to learn from our neighbor to the north.



BROWN: Turning to the politics lead now, President Biden is applauding recent progress on the pandemic, downplaying the fact that the U.S. didn't meet his goal of vaccinating 70 percent of all adults by July 4th.

The U.S. was at 67 percent of adults with at least a single dose on the 4th. And then tomorrow, the focus turns to getting that number even higher.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has more from the White House.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the White House, on the heels of its first major in-person's vent.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, it's the most patriotic thing you can do. So, please, if you haven't gotten vaccinated, do it. Do it now.

MATTINGLY: Palpable concern about an increasingly aggressive delta variant, with millions of Americans still resistant to the most effective weapon to combat its spread, vaccination.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, if you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2 percent of them are unvaccinated. About 0.8 percent are vaccinated.

MATTINGLY: President Biden set to receive a briefing on the hurdles to stamping out the pandemic once and for all on Tuesday and planning to give remarks to once again try and juice vaccinations as his administration settles into a daily grind, shot by shot to blunt outbreaks. It's a split screen moment for Biden.

BIDEN: Today we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.

MATTINGLY: On one side, historic progress on vaccinations, that has rendered the pandemic under control in many areas in the country, at a scale unmatched worldwide.

BIDEN: We are emerging from the darkness of years, a year of pandemic and isolation, a year of pain, fear and heartbreaking loss.

Just think back to where this nation was a year ago. Think back to where you were a year ago and think about how far we've come.

MATTINGLY: On the other, the aggressive spread of the delta variant, threatening to envelope parts of the country where vaccine progress has slowed to a crawl.


FAUCI: The experience we're seeing with this is that it is clearly more transmissible. It's more effective and efficient in its ability to transmit from person to person.

MATTINGLY: That reluctance to get vaccinated, a primary driver, Biden's inability to hit his goal of 70 percent of Americans adults with at least one dose by July 4th. But narrowly missing that goal, doing nothing to halt the White House's festivities or Biden's message.

BIDEN: Today, we have the power of science.

MATTINGLY: A president walking the line between historic triumph and stubborn concern.

BIDEN: Don't get me wrong. COVID-19 has not been vanquished. We all now powerful variants have emerged like the delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MATTINGLY (on camera): And, Pamela, White House officials say they don't expect the president to lay out any new numerical goals like that 70 percent marker. But they do expect him to stay increasingly focused on this issue, particularly in areas where the vaccination remains very low, especially in certain states in the south, something the White House has been keyed in on in the last several weeks, sending response teams to some areas, trying to ensure that state and local governments have the resources they need.

It is an acknowledgment that while there's historic progress made, there's a lot more work to be done and serious concerns about what that delta variant may mean, Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Thanks so much, Phil Mattingly. Let's talk about the serious concerns with Dr. Megan Ranney. She's the associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

Dr. Ranney, great to see you.

So, you're among health officials who believe full FDA approval on vaccines will encourage more people to get a shot. But if people didn't want a shot under emergency use authorization, why would a change in classification do the trick in your view?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: There's some people that hear that emergency and emergency use authorization and somehow think the vaccine is risky or hasn't been fully tested yet.

Once it receives full approval, it takes away that small little bit of fear, and although people like me, scientists, physicians, public health professionals can say over and over again, listen, these vaccines have passed every scientific test needed, they have shown themselves to be effective, they have shown themselves to be safe, getting that extra seal of approval will get some folks over the hump.

BROWN: And just to be clear, what is the difference between the emergency use and full approval?

RANNEY: So the really big difference is just that the full approval means that when the COVID pandemic is no longer a public health emergency, these vaccines will still be able to be used. Usually in or order to achieve full approval, you need more time to have elapsed from when the trial started up until when they grant full approval.

Now, for vaccines, it is unbelievably rare to see side effects longer than a couple of weeks after vaccines are administered. But we still hold vaccines to the same standard as every other medicine. We now have hundreds of millions of doses that have been administered, tons and tons of safety data. There's no reason that they wouldn't meet every criteria for that full approval. We just need the FDA independent commission and the full FDA to vote and actually get it over to that full approval status.

BROWN: So Dr. Fauci says overwhelmingly that the most severe cases are among those not vaccinated. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: Well, if you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2 percent of them are unvaccinated. About 0.8 percent are vaccinated. For goodness sakes, put aside all those differences and realize that the common enemy is the virus and we have a tool, a highly effective tool against this virus.


BROWN: Why do you think that fact alone is not convincing more people to get a COVID vaccine?

RANNEY: I think that fact is not trickling down to many people. There's a lot of folks that, for better or worse, don't watch TV or listen to Dr. Fauci, who are getting their news primarily from social media or from their community groups or from their family and friends. Those folks may not be hearing that statistic. They're hearing the stuff that's misinformation or actually lies about the vaccine instead.

I am hopeful that we'll be able to permeate through communities that have been hesitant, but it's really much more of a ground game than a mass media game at this point.

BROWN: When you look at the numbers, let's focus on one part of the country, Arkansas. It's one of ten states where cases jumped more than 25 percent in a week. The governor there told CNN there's one key group in that state getting sick.


Let's listen.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): It is our younger adults that's now getting hit with the delta variant which is more contagious, has more severe consequences, and that's the concern that's causing increase in hospitalizations.


BROWN: So, at the current rate, only 57 percent of adults under 30 will have their vaccine dose by the end of August. If the U.S. has another major surge, do you think the younger, unvaccinated adults will largely be why?

RANNEY: Absolutely. And we've already seen that the highest number of infections over the past few months have been in those younger adults. These are people who thought they were invincible. Unfortunately, they're not. As an ER doc, I've seen plenty of folks in their 20s, 30s and 40s severely ill from COVID. I hope they'll show up and get their shots.

BROWN: I mean, that is -- that is chilling. You've seen it firsthand in the ER. Dr. Megan Ranney, thank you so much.

RANNEY: Thank you.

BROWN: A stark warning from a top military official about the Taliban advancing as the U.S. pulls out. We're live in Afghanistan up next. Stay with us.



BROWN: We are back with our special edition of THE LEAD.

And we want to turn now to our world lead, fear spreading through Afghanistan, as the U.S. presence there dwindles. The Taliban is gaining more ground, and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is preparing new evacuation plans, as we're just now learning hundreds of Afghan military members have left the country.

CNN's Anna Coren is on the ground in Kabul. And Oren Liebermann is covering this from the Pentagon. Thanks so much for joining us.

Let's start with you, Anna.

We just learned 1,000 Afghan troops escaped to neighboring -- to a neighboring country. How big of a problem is this for the Afghan military?


A thousand Afghans have fled over to Tajikistan across the border. There has been fighting in this area now for some weeks. But the number of Afghans fleeing the Taliban, that really is alarming. The Taliban obviously want to get in charge of those border posts and those highways to effectively cut off those supply routes from Central Asia and choke Afghanistan.

The brigadier that we spoke to today, when we went to Bagram Air Base, he said that the troops are planning to mobilize and to form a counterattack, but we are yet to see any evidence of that yet, Pam.

So you mentioned you were at Bagram Air Base. What else did you see there?

COREN: Well, it was virtually deserted, except for the handful of Afghans who was showing us around.

And they too had only just been allowed onto the base after U.S.-NATO forces flew out early Friday last week. Look, the airfield, which is two miles' long, it was completely dead. Obviously, it used to be a hive of activity. There were hundreds of vehicles, abandoned vehicles, four-wheel drives, pickup trucks.

There was some forklifts. Apparently, there were MRAPs and Humvees, but they were locked up in an air hangar, which the Afghans didn't have keys to. I mean, it really suggested to me that this was not an orderly and smooth transition whatsoever.

In fact, some military officials said to us they had no idea the Americans were leaving, and that, upon their departure, it felt like an old friend leaving without saying goodbye. I mean, there is a deep sense of abandonment here in Afghanistan.

BROWN: Oren, what do we know about the evacuation plans at the U.S. Embassy?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So there are evacuation plans for every embassy, specifically for the U.S., and especially in war zones or conflict zones. And that very much applies to Kabul.

But those plans are now being updated, especially in light of the closure of Bagram airport -- air base. That is essentially no longer facility the U.S. can use to get soldiers, troops, diplomats and contractors out in the event of an emergency.

So the U.S. is now going through the process, the Pentagon, the Department of State, to update those plans, especially as the Taliban makes tremendous gains very quickly in the countryside of Afghanistan.

A senior defense official stresses there is no need to use those plans as of right now and that some of the intelligence estimates are kind of all over the place when it comes to what and how the Taliban will do next. But those plans are being updated. And that speaks to how seriously the military officials and other officials see the situation there and if there's a need to get everybody out, essentially, to get American citizens and contractors and troops out.

BROWN: And we're hearing from the top U.S. general in Afghanistan. He spoke to ABC. And this is what he said.


GEN. AUSTIN MILLER, COMMANDER, U.S./NATO FORCES, AFGHANISTAN: We should be concerned. The loss of terrain and the rapidity of that loss of terrain has to be concerning, one, because it's a -- war is physical, but it's also got a psychological or moral component to it.

And hope actually matters. And morale actually matters.


BROWN: So, Anna, you sort of touched on this a little bit earlier when you were at Bagram Air Base, but how is the morale overall on the ground there in Kabul?

COREN: Look, I think it's fair to say, Pam, that it is at rock bottom, particularly with U.S. forces departing.


Yes, of course, 650 troops, we left to look after the U.S. Embassy, but, as far as combat troops, as far as aircraft, equipment, that has now all gone. And then you see the Taliban emboldened, making significant gains on the battlefield, and then Afghan forces surrendering or fleeing, and then the Taliban in charge of this U.S.- funded equipment.

This all plays into the psyche of not just the troops, but also the local population. They are extremely fearful that the Afghan forces will not be able to protect them against the Taliban.

We did, however, speak to a -- the commander of Bagram Air Base, and he said that, this is our country, we need to fight for it, and we need to rebuild it.

BROWN: OK, Anna Coren in Kabul and Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thank you both for your reporting.

Police right now are urgently looking for the person who shot and killed a golf pro and two others. The clues officials are digging into -- up next.



BROWN: And in the national lead: murder on the 10th hole.

A manhunt is under way right now after a golf pro was found dead at a club outside of Atlanta over the weekend. And police say the suspect left a truck behind with two more bodies inside of it, as CNN's Ryan Young reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just kind of a frenzy, and everybody was just trying to figure out, like, what's going on?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three people are dead, including a golf pro, after a bizarre incident on a country club golf course.

Police are still searching for the suspect. It happened Saturday afternoon at the Pine Tree Country Club in Kennesaw just north of Atlanta. Witnesses say a man drove a white pickup truck onto the course. Golf pro Gene Siller went to see what was going on and was shot near the 10th hole, a member of the club told CNN affiliate WXIA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it happened, it was all in the moment. And Fourth of July, you're thinking fireworks. And it's not fireworks and there's a guy on the ground.

YOUNG: Police say the 41-year-old Siller was found with an apparent gunshot wound to the head and pronounced dead at the scene.

SEBASTIAN SCHUTTE, FRIEND OF VICTIM: A really nice guy, greeted everyone, treated everyone with respect and a really good guy.

YOUNG: Officers then made another shocking discovery. Inside the bed of the truck parked on the green, the bodies of two men, both with apparent gunshot wounds. Police identified one of the victims as Paul Pierson, the registered owner of the Ram truck. The other victim has yet to be identified.

While police investigated, nearby Kennesaw State University sent out an emergency alert to students and faculty. In a series of tweets, the school's emergency management department described the suspect as a Hispanic male with long hair, 6'1'', 170 pounds with a dark-colored complexion wearing a white or tan T-shirt, work pants and possibly a hat.

Investigators are still trying to figure out if this was a targeted or random incident.

RAND EBERHARD, FRIEND OF VICTIM: He was a peaceful dude. He built community, didn't have one enemy. Clearly, it's an act of evil. It's an act of selfishness. We need to come together and have a sense of selflessness, where we don't show up and allow anger and sadness to inform our decisions.

YOUNG: In a statement, PGA's president said -- quote -- "We are truly heartbroken to hear about the senseless murder that took place yesterday at Pine Tree Country Club in Georgia that took the life of PGA member Gene Siller."

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Siller's family. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

SCHUTTE: It didn't hit me until later that this happened to our country club, and I still can't believe it.


YOUNG: Yes, devastating when you see the flowers out there, Pamela.

We believe family members stopped by in the last hour-and-a-half and place those flowers there. I was standing here watching them and it seemed like they were talking to one of the investigators from the police department.

We have been asking police all day for any more information about this case, because, obviously, it's so bizarre. So far, they haven't really responded yet with additional information, because, clearly, they're working this case very hard.

We're still trying to get down to the bottom of it. As soon as we have more information, Pamela, of course, we will bring it to you.

BROWN: Right. It's still so troubling because the suspect still on the loose.

All right, thanks so much, Ryan.


BROWN: And that shocking scene on a golf course just one of many gun tragedies this weekend. There were hundreds of shootings in the U.S. over the July four holiday and at least three more mass shootings, four people shot in a drive-by shooting in Chicago.

At least two people were killed and three others injured in a shooting in Cincinnati. And eight people were shot when an argument turned violent near a car wash in Fort Worth, Texas.

Sadly, the Fourth of July violence is shining a light again on a uniquely American epidemic, one that seems to end at the northern border. Why is that?

CNN security correspondent Josh Campbell takes a look.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mass shooting after mass shooting in the United States, more than 300 in 2021 alone where four or more people were injured or killed.

We're a nation saturated with guns, more firearms than people. Nowhere else compares. But Canada is one of the Western nations that comes closest. Still, mass shootings in Canada are so rare, authorities tell us they don't even keep an official list.

For a decade, there were about five murders a year in Canada with three or more victims.


So, why does Canada appear to be so much safer when it comes to guns?

TRAVIS BADER, OWNER, SILVERCORE ADVANCED TRAINING: They're going to learn all about the safe handling of firearms.

CAMPBELL: Travis Bader runs one of the largest firing training programs for Canadians wanting a gun license? In Canada, not only is training mandatory, but you must wait at least 28 days to get a gun. In the U.S., there's no federal waiting period if a buyer passes a government database check, and there's nowhere near the robust background check required in Canada.

BADER: The government will be doing criminal record checks, background checks, reference checks. They're going to be talking with spouses and family members.

CAMPBELL: Unlike many training programs, students aren't the only ones gathering information. Trainers act as a first line of defense.

BADER: So, if the instructor sees a student that comes in that they feel is not doing well at life in general and perhaps shouldn't have a firearm, we'll give that student a full refund, we'll create a complete written report for our records and supply the report to the firearm center as well.

CAMPBELL: The number of people denied a license or had theirs revoked in Canada has been climbing to more than 4,000 in 2019. Some reasons, mental health concerns, court orders and risk to oneself or others. BADER: Every individual who is successful on the course and is

successful in obtaining their possession and acquisition license, they're now subjected to daily criminal record background checks.

CAMPBELL: Gun safety training isn't all Canada does differently, unlike in the United States, mass shootings have led to swift legislative change in Canada. Take the 2020 Nova Scotia massacre where 22 people were gunned down.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: There is no need in Canada for guns designed to kill.

CAMPBELL: It was followed by an assault weapons ban. Polls show like this one showed Canadians overwhelmingly supported change.

FRANCIS LANGLOIS, UNIVERSITY OF QUEBEC MONTREAL DIPLOMATIC STUDIES: The massacre triggered public anger, mobilization, and it pushed the Canadian government to move.

CAMPBELL: The U.S.-based National Rifle Association called Canada's gun control legislation unnecessary, burdening businesses, hunters, farmers and sports shooters. Canada has its own gun lobby, but it isn't as powerful as the NRA. And unlike in the U.S., Canada doesn't have a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to own guns.

LANGLOIS: You see here, gun ownership is a privilege. It's a privilege the government gives to citizens. It can remove it.

CAMPBELL: Gun crime is on the rise in major cities like Toronto and Montreal, but nowhere near the explosion in the U.S. And with no apparent end in sight, are there any solutions Americans can learn from our neighbors to the north?

JOOYOUNG LEE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: The Canadian system recognizes that people's lives change over time. Just because you're fit to own a gun at one point in time doesn't mean in the future, you will continue to be fit.


CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, it's worth pointing out there are a lot of guns in Canada, but nowhere near the level of gun violence we see here in the United States. As we compare the two countries, advocates might say, hold on, gun ownership is enshrined in the U.S. constitution unlike in Canada.

But, Pamela, one thing that my colleague Jason Cabrera (ph) and I noticed in reporting the story, something we see in Canada that we don't see in the United States, is a focus on responsible gun ownership, on these training programs and other tripwires that help ensure that criminals and those prone to gun violence don't get their hands on weapons in the first place -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Josh Campbell, thanks for bringing us that important reporting there. Well, today is one of the busiest travel days with the worst traffic.

If you need to fill up your tank, you might even run into more problems. That's next.



BROWN: In the money lead, you saw the fireworks, hopefully had some good barbecue.

And now, the dreaded part of this holiday weekend, that return home. According to AAA, this very hour, may be one of the busiest on the roads. That commute much more expensive than years past.

CNN's Pete Muntean is live on the busy stretch of the D.C. beltway in northern Virginia.

So, Pete, why this year of all years might travel be near a record?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Pamela, this is when the real headache begins. All those people who left town for the holiday weekend are coming back into town. And AAA anticipates traffic in some of the major metro areas like Boston and San Francisco could be three times the norm this evening.

AAA anticipated about 43 million Americans would drive between July 1st and today. That's a new record. Even higher than the number we saw in 2019 pre-pandemic. It accounts for 90 percent of all travel over this holiday weekend. But all of this means travel is more congested and it is costing more.

The average price for a gallon of gas is now over $3.00 a gallon, up about a dollar since this time last year. We have not seen prices like this since 2014, seven years ago. One other factor at play, it's going to be a little harder to get gas. There's a shortage of tanker truck drivers to deliver that gas to some smaller rural stations that are actually running out of gas. People still remain undaunted.

AAA estimated the top destinations, Orlando Disneyworld, Anaheim Disneyland.


The cost of rental cars up 86 percent in a year. People are just not flying and do not want to swallow the rental car cost and instead driving themselves, Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Pete Muntean, thanks so much for bringing us the latest there on travel.

And coming up, the mayor from Surfside, Florida, joins CNN live on the desperate search efforts there.

Stay with us.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, the death toll rises in the Florida condo collapse. The search resuming after the remaining part of the building was demolished.