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COVID Cases Rising; Autopsy Shows Brian Laundrie Died By Suicide; Suspect in Waukesha Parade Tragedy Due in Court. Aired 3- 3:30p ET

Aired November 23, 2021 - 15:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

This afternoon, the suspect accused of ramming an SUV into a Wisconsin Christmas parade will go before a judge; 39-year-old Darrell Brooks is facing five counts of intentional homicide for the deaths of these victims, four of them grandmothers.

And now a doorbell camera is giving us a look at the final moments before Brooks surrendered to police on Sunday.


DARRELL BROOKS, SUSPECT: Hey, can -- I called an Uber, and I'm supposed to be waiting for it over here, but I don't know when it's coming. Can you call them for me, please?


CAMEROTA: The homeowner says that he did not know about the mass casualty and let Brooks inside to use his phone. He then asked him to leave when he spotted patrol units riding up and down the street.

The camera then recorded the moments that police closed in my.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is on this story for us.

Adrienne, we know that there's this hearing in a few hours for him, but the man who led that suspect into his home just talked to CNN. So what did he say? 1

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's a 24-year-old. It was Sunday. He was at home sitting in his recliner watching Sunday football. He had no idea in regards to what was unfolding here on Main Street.

And moments before Brooks showed up at his door, he said his family had shared with him a sermon that talked about helping the homeless. So, when Brooks showed up, he invited him in his home, made him a sandwich and allowed him to use his phone. And then this. Listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANIEL RIDER, SUSPECT KNOCKED ON HIS DOOR: Keep in mind the whole time he had my phone. So my shelter in place and a suspect on the loose messages, I wasn't seeing them.

And if they weren't sent before, I was watching the game, so I didn't see him. I had no idea anything had happened. And I asked him, I tell Mr. Brooks, say: "I need my phone back. Can I have my phone?"

And he does. He gives me my phone. I said, give me the coat back. He gives me the coat. I go inside, lock the door. And then you will see on those videos I sent a minute later he's pounding on the door saying: "Let me back in. I left my I.D. My I.D. is in. Let me back in."

And I'm looking for his -- I say: "No, you stay out there. I will look for your I.D." And so I'm looking for his I.D. And moments later, the police see him and get him in cuffs.


BROADDUS: One 24-year-old who came face to face with that 39-year-old suspect minutes after that tragedy and horror unfolded here.

Now, the 24-year-old told CNN he did not feel threatened -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Adrienne Broaddus, thank you for the reporting from there.

Some of the victims who were killed at the parade were grandmothers. Jane Kulich was a mother of three and grandmother of three. She took part in the event representing her employer, a bank. Three victims were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, LeAnna Owen, Tamara Durand, and Virginia Sorenson, Sorenson, who spoke to our affiliate in August, about her love for that troupe.


VIRGINIA SORENSON, VICTIM: I love it. And I love the ladies. And they're my family. They're my friends. And I don't know what I would do without Grannies.


CAMEROTA: With us now are some of the survivors and eyewitnesses to this parade tragedy on Sunday.

Matthew Rude was there with his two young daughters. And Becky and Danny Faustmann own the Guitar for Life Cafe and Studio. And they helped to care for those hurt in the aftermath. Becky is also a trauma nurse.

Thank you all for being here very much.

Matthew, I just want to start with you, because I know you were there with your daughters, 2 and 5 years old. How are you doing? How are they doing? Are they talking at all about what they saw? MATTHEW RUDE, WITNESS: So, I'm fortunate enough to assume that my

daughters are young enough to not necessarily comprehend what happened.

And I'm very fortunate that they didn't see anything extremely traumatic. I do go back to thinking about all the children who saw things much more horrific. And I'm very blessed that my children were opposed to -- or didn't actually see anything of that nature.


CAMEROTA: And, Matthew, one more thing.

I know that you saw what was happening, you saw the SUV speeding in your direction. And then what happened?

RUDE: So, I was with my two girls.

And, one point, my 5-year-old looked at me, and she pointed to a piece of candy out further onto the road. And she said: "Daddy, can I go get that piece of candy?" And I said: "No, honey. Stay here. Stay by me. Don't go past this line."

And that's when, just less than a minute later, I look over and I see -- well, I hear a commotion. I hear people screaming, and I see this SUV come flying down the road, swerving around one of the floats. And as it approached, that's when time kind of slowed down. And it also sped up at the same time.

I didn't take my eyes off the SUV, but, at the same time, I'm grabbing my children. And the next thing that I know, my back is against the wall, and people are hunkered down. People are almost on top of each other, screaming and saying to get down, because we weren't really sure what was going on.

CAMEROTA: It's so scary, Matthew. And we know that it's very windy where you are. So we're going to try to adjust some audio there right now while I bring in Dan and Becky.

Becky, you are a trauma nurse. Is that right?

BECKY FAUSTMANN, WITNESS: No, no. I'm an endocrine nurse.


B. FAUSTMANN: I'm a diabetes educator.

CAMEROTA: Got it. So I guess my point is that you all were at your shop, and what did you see?

B. FAUSTMANN: My husband and I were inside. And we didn't really see -- we were not even paying attention at the moment and happened to hear.

DANNY FAUSTMANN, WITNESS: It's just screaming. And you're hearing this carnage, that things are breaking, and you're seeing things going up in the air.

And then all of a sudden, we see the truck go by.

B. FAUSTMANN: And we just ran around the counter, ran to the doors, and people are screaming.

And then the -- there's an officer running past and said, "There's shots fired." And so my husband got...

D. FAUSTMANN: Just started pulling in.

B. FAUSTMANN: Pulling people in, families with babies and small children, elderly people. And we got them into the basement of the cafe, in the backrooms of the studio, where they were off of Main Street.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

B. FAUSTMANN: There were little girls. The dance troupe was across the street, and there were little girls on the road and their families and injured. And...

D. FAUSTMANN: Becky ran out to help with one of the victims that had a broken leg and got that little boy -- it was a little kid, little boy, into -- they ran out of ambulances. So...


B. FAUSTMANN: He just -- they weren't even ready for him yet.

D. FAUSTMANN: They weren't even ready yet.

B. FAUSTMANN: They -- I helped a little girl with a -- looked like a neck injury. We got her into the back of a squad car.

Her dad was torn if he should get in the car with her or if he -- because he had to find his wife and other children. And the dance teacher was there. And then grandma came and got in the squad, and they transported via squad.

D. FAUSTMANN: Yes, it was...

B. FAUSTMANN: It was a little...

D. FAUSTMANN: It was tragic. It was the worst thing I have ever seen.

B. FAUSTMANN: Me too. Me too. I have never experienced anything like this, and to see our downtown, the -- when we came home, we saw everybody lined up on the streets. And there's chairs out there like 10:00 in the morning. Everybody was anticipating this parade after COVID.

And the excitement, you could just feel it in the air, and it instantly went from happy little kids to terrified, screaming children and parents.


D. FAUSTMANN: It was a...

B. FAUSTMANN: A nightmare.

D. FAUSTMANN: It was a nightmare.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Guys, I mean, it is unimaginable, the carnage that you all witnessed and what you all lived through.

And God bless you for being able to run into it and to help people. As we -- I think, at this hour, there are still more than 40 people in the hospital. The amount of damage and carnage just caused by one person is astounding.

Dan and Becky Faustmann, thank you very much for your story. Matthew, Rude, thank you for your story. Hug your daughters tight for us. We really appreciate it. We will check back with you. Thank you.

We do have some breaking news right now, because the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has just issued a new round of subpoenas that we want to tell you about.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill.

Ryan, who are the targets of this latest round?


This is the second day in a row that the January 6 Select Committee has issued subpoenas to a group of individuals, hoping to learn more about what happened on January 6.

And this is an interesting batch of requests that they put out today. It focuses on these right-wing extremist groups that were very prominent during the riots and chaos on January 6, among them, the Proud Boys International.


This is a subpoena of the entire organization as well as their former chairman, Henry "Enrique" Tarrio. Tarrio was in and around Washington, D.C., in the week leading up to January 6, was very vocal in his opposition to the election results, and among the groups -- among the people, I should say, that were encouraging people to try and do whatever they could to interrupt the certification of the election results on January 6.

Also, the committee wants to hear from the Oath Keepers. This is another sort of paramilitary militia group, and its president, Elmer Stewart Rhodes. The Oath Keepers had big numbers. A lot of their members were here on January 6, and were involved. Some actually got into the Capitol on that day. And there are some that have been subject to prosecution by the Justice Department as a result.

And then one other group, this is the First Amendment Praetorian. This is a group that the select committee says was tasked with providing security for some of the speakers and rally-goers on January 6, and they want to hear from the leader of that group, a man by the name of Robert Patrick Lewis.

So, Alisyn, these aren't necessarily household names. But this is obviously a key line of inquiry by the select committee. And what you see in the release that they put out, the information that they're looking for is, they're trying to find connections. This isn't just about learning what these individuals know specifically about what happened that led to what started out as a peaceful protest on the Ellipse outside the White House and turned in to a violent a riot and mob with a goal of making an end-run on American democracy.

They want to know if it was organic, or if there were specific instructions and plans on that day to take that action. And they believe that these right-wing extremist groups may have played a crucial role in that entire process.

Did they come here with a specific purpose of breaking into the Capitol, and were they encouraging some of the people that had no intention of doing that on that day, but then got caught up in the mob and the rush?

And then, Alisyn, they want to take it a step further and find out if those connections go beyond just the organizations themselves, but could be connected to the Trump campaign, could even be connected to the White House or the former president himself.

So this is a very important round of subpoenas. Like we say with all of these subpoenas, though, Alisyn, there is, of course, a big question as to how cooperative this group will be. Will they be willing to come in to answer questions, supply documents? Or will they do something like plead the Fifth or just outright defy the committee's request?

That's something that remains to be seen, but the committee today making it clear that they want information from this group -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan Nobles, stay with us, if you would.

I want to bring back in Harry Litman. He's a former U.S. attorney, and was the deputy assistant attorney general.

Harry, explain this to me. If you subpoenaed the entire organization of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, how does that work? Everybody comes in for an interview?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You want documents. You want all the documents they control as an organization.

Then, in addition, you're subpoenaing individuals. But this follows on the heels, Alisyn, of yesterday's round of subpoenas. I haven't seen Bennie Thompson's letter, but I'm betting that they have information that these guys were in communication with Alex, Stone.

(CROSSTALK) LITMAN: ... and Powell. And they're -- yes. And so they are, I think -- this is -- again, we're not -- we're over the level of the people who were actually there on the 6th to organizers, the people -- the financiers.

And those people may, in fact, have a link to -- they have some information they do -- White House political officials. Household names, these are not, but they may well have coordinated, conspired with. So they are really sort of aiming toward the top at this point.

CAMEROTA: Harry, another question.

The committee is casting a very large net, as you have just alluded to.


CAMEROTA: I mean, everybody from Alex Jones, Roger Stone, the entire organization of the Proud Boys. Are they spinning their wheels? I mean, do they expect all of these people to provide information or are they just throwing whatever they can at the wall and seeing who will cooperate?

LITMAN: Right. Somewhere in between.

Look, they really focused on the timeline. They know they have to finish when they're not in the shadow of the midterms. They have got a lot of people there, good people there working different aspects of the whole January 6 demonstration, including now organization, financing.

So not everything is going to be a hit, but it's all based on more than just guesswork. They have concrete information from -- they have now had 200 people cooperating with them -- from those and documents that give them reason to reach out to these folks.


You're certainly right. They are spreading a very wide, large net, but they have to if they hope to get a comprehensive story and complete their work before they're potentially shut down by change of control in the House in the election.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, do we have a status report on who is cooperating so far with the select committee and who's fighting them or who they're fighting in court?

NOBLES: Not with a great deal of specificity, Alisyn.

As Harry mentioned, the committee has said that they have talked to more than 200 people, that they have collected somewhere in the range of 25,000 documents, but we don't know exactly who it is that they have been talking to. Some of the committee members have alluded to the fact that they have had cooperation from former members of the Trump administration. We do know some names here and there of people that have cooperated,

for instance, former Department of Justice officials like Richard Donoghue and Jeffrey Rosen, for instance. We know Alyssa Farah, the former White House communications director, did come in and talk to the committee.

But there's a wide range of people outside of those that we have been able to report out who we just don't know who they are talking to. And that's by design. The committee feels as though a lot of these individuals that have come forward and cooperated risk not only being held as a pariah within the Trump wing of the Republican Party and his political movement, but they also fear for their safety.

They fear that, if they come forward, and are known, that their safety could be at risk, and that could prevent them from cooperating further. So the committee has held that under tight lock and key for that specific reason. They feel as though, if they can keep those identities quiet for as long as possible, that they will get more information out of them.

Now, that being said, Alisyn, at some point, the committee is going to have to start delivering the goods. They're going to have to start to show exactly what they are learning from these individuals and who they are to show that they're making progress. At this point, most of it has been done behind closed doors, and we just don't have a lot of answers to those questions.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I'm interested in that.

Harry, when does that have to happen? What's the date where they need to actually put -- the rubber meets the road? And also they do seem to be going after some people who think it's a badge of honor to thumb their nose at the committee, the Steve Bannons of the world, that they will be embroiled in court battles with.

So is that the best strategy?

LITMAN: At least publicly, you have the Steve Bannons. But for every one Bannon, you have 10 or more of people who -- exactly -- they're doing a carrot-and-stick strategy. Come talk to us. You won't have to be in front of the klieg lights and raising your right hand.

When will they start doing it? They're already doing it. They are already putting pen to paper. They have got a big and very qualified staff and they have divided up the tasks. And you can bet the report is already being drafted even as it's a complete rolling document and they're having to figure out what's going to -- what they're going to come forward with and what they're going to have to abandon.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan Nobles, Harry Litman, thank you very much for helping us through this breaking news.

LITMAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Really appreciate you. OK, COVID cases are on the rise nationwide ahead of Thanksgiving, and,

in Michigan, hospitalizations are once again hitting pandemic records. So we're going to hear from an E.R. doctor there about what he's seeing in the E.R.

And the fate of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery rests in the hands of the jury. We have the very latest from the courthouse next.



CAMEROTA: Just into our NEWSROOM, autopsy results for Brian Laundrie, the fiance of Gabby Petito. They show that he died by suicide from a gunshot wound to the head.

Let's bring in Jean Casarez.

Jean, what more have we learned?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the attorney for the family, Steven Bertolino, told us the family was officially told that this was a shotgun to the head as the cause of death, the manner of death, suicide.

But let's look at the facts here, because the facts maybe can or cannot give us more insight. First of all, Gabby was officially a missing person the 11th of September. And this is when police went to the Laundrie home that night and said she's missing. Two days later, Brian Laundrie tells his family I'm going to the Carlton Reserve for a hike.

Well, the family through their attorney said he didn't take his wallet and he didn't take his phone. Now, this was not the original phone that he had with Gabby in Utah in the Grand Tetons. This was a brand- new phone that he purchased after he got home.

So the question is, well, did he take a gun? He didn't take those things. We don't know. And then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Friday the 17th, the family calls law enforcement: We can't find him. He's a missing person.

So, after that, they went to the Carlton Reserve, and they searched day after day with so many resources. Finally, the family said: We will go out with you.

And that's when they started finding personal belongings of their son, Brian. And they came across the dry bag first. And then a little ways away was a backpack. They said remains were next to the backpack. Was there a gun in either one of those things? Was...

CAMEROTA: Because investigators never mentioned a gun being found.

CASAREZ: Never mentioned a gun.

So how did he get it? Where did it come from? Did his parents know he had it? We don't have those answers.

CAMEROTA: One of the things that they didn't mention was a notebook that was I guess in his backpack or near him. What do we know about that?

CASAREZ: At the scene.


CAMEROTA: What did it reveal?

CASAREZ: A notebook was found.

Now, they also said that area was underwater. But that notebook was going to the FBI for forensic analysis. And we don't know, because no one knows exactly what happened between Gabby and Brian, and they're both gone.

So, the notebook conceivably could be the only way to truly find out. Another thing I find interesting is, they had to call in a forensic anthropologist. And now they have determined that it was a gunshot to the head. So that must mean that an important body part was found, the head, right?

But the forensic anthropologist, is he the one that had to determine what that cause of death was?

CAMEROTA: Meaning -- the anthropologist being called in tells you that Brian Laundrie's body was there for a while.

CASAREZ: A long time, yes. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Have police said anything about this gun, where they -- what they think its origin was?

CASAREZ: We have reached out to law enforcement, FBI. No comment yet at all.

CAMEROTA: Jean, thank you very much for helping us with this breaking news.

OK, now, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and COVID is making a comeback in many areas. New cases are up 16 percent nationwide from just a week ago. So, if you look on your screen, you can see that they're going -- oh, here you go. This is the red right there represents high transmission of the virus, which you can see has overtaken much of the country.

Let's bring in Dr. Rob Davidson. He's an E.R. Physician in Michigan and the executive director of the Committee to Protect Health Care.

So, Doctor, just explain what you're seeing in the E.R. in Michigan in the past two weeks.

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: Well, and the past probably four weeks it is and, as we look forward, maybe another four weeks to go, we have seen just continued numbers of unvaccinated people coming in with COVID-19 who are extremely sick, who are definitely requiring hospitalization.

And we're starting out with emergency departments that are half-full with patients waiting for beds, because our hospitals are at and beyond capacity. Our ICUs in our entire system throughout the whole west side of the state are at 140 percent.

I have just heard about two more hospitals going on diversion today. Our hospital does not go on diversion. So we just keep absorbing the ones that come in looking for spaces in the halls, looking for spaces to take care of people. And it just means the entire system has broken down. We have E.R. docs taking care of inpatients.

We have hospitalists coming in on days off rounding in the emergency department on people who have been there for 24 or 48 hours just waiting for an elusive bed that just isn't appearing.

CAMEROTA: I mean, so many of us who are doubly vaccinated who live in areas that are not seen in that red on the map have sort of thought, I guess we're out of the woods, maybe we're out of the woods, maybe we have turned a corner.

But it sounds like -- are you experiencing the same types of scenes that you were at the worst of this?

DAVIDSON: I would argue we are at the worst right now. I am in a county where I work that has about a 42 percent vaccination rate overall.

And so the only breakthrough cases, if we want to call them that, are people who had their second dose more than six months ago or had the J&J more than six months ago and didn't get boosted yet. It's really unvaccinated people.

So if you're in a community or in an area with significant numbers of people who are vaccinated, and if people are basically wearing masks indoors as much as possible, I think you may be out of the woods. Perhaps this becomes a very regional pandemic. But, unfortunately, the national numbers do go up because there are so many pockets of this country where vaccination rates are woefully low.

People in our area, there's a very strong pattern of people who voted for the former president, people who watch FOX News, don't believe in the vaccine. And I work in an area where 70 percent of people voted for the former president, likely watch FOX News and are getting their information from people other than me and other than their primary care doctors. They're getting it from people spreading disinformation.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, not only do you have to then care for those people medically, as, of course, you have vowed to do, but I understand that you and some of your colleagues also have to talk to them, and they don't always meet your information in a welcome way.

DAVIDSON: Absolutely. I had one man who was there with an oxygen saturation of less than 80

percent, which is critically low. And I asked him, "Have you been vaccinated?"


I said, "Oh, why did you make that choice?"

He said, "I don't approve."

And I didn't go any further. I have had people accused me of trying to get them sick. Just heard from the president of our hospital system, who was touring the E.R. the other day, that, whenever they put out information, which they are doing out on social media as much as possible about the wave that's happening, the comments go from, you're lying to make money, you're lying to hurt people or just plain, you're lying.

So it sort of baffles the mind how so many people can look at a system that they have trusted, and I have been there for 20 years, taken care of so many people in their families, and believed our advice, our recommendations on so many issues, and, somehow, with this issue, it's become so politicized and people are so dug in on their team, so to speak, that they just don't believe anything we're telling them.

So, what we do, we show up. We rally the troops. We all kind of look after each other and try to take care of our community, like we have done for so long.