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71-Year-Old Man in Custody after Church Shooting Leaves 2 Dead; GOP Senator: Gun Talks Could Collapse Without Key Decisions; Extreme Weather Wreaks Havoc Across Nation; FDA Authorizes Vaccines for Children as Young as 6 Months Old. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Officials have identified the victims who were killed when a gunman opened fire at an Alabama church. They are 84- year-old Walter Rainey and 75-year-old Sarah Yeager. A third person, an 84-year-old woman, was also wounded and is in the hospital.

Police say the man who shot them at a potluck event sometimes attended that church.

CNN's Nadia Romero is at the scene.

Nadia, what have authorities shared about this suspect and how this happened?

NADIO ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, we were learning just a few more details this morning after a press conference with authorities about what happened here behind me at St. Stephens Episcopal Church last night.


They were having a boomer potluck, which is something they have on a regular basis. And seniors come out. They all bring food. And they were enjoying their dinner when a 71-year-old man, who had been at the event before at the church was also there enjoying his time.

But witnesses tell us that he then pulled out a handgun and started shooting. He killed an 84-year-old man. He killed a 75-year-old woman. And put another woman in the hospital.

They said there was a hero amongst the crowd inside the church who got on top of the 71-year-old suspect and held him down before police arrived so that no one else could be injured.

But this isn't something that people expected to happen in this neighborhood. It's a tree-lined street and a very nice community.

It's the same neighborhood that a former U.S. Senator Doug Jones lived in, he says, now for some 27 years. He said, when he was working as a U.S. Senator back in 2018, right

after the Parkland shooting, he was trying to get comprehensive gun reform passed.

So I asked him about the current gun legislation, the bipartisan deal that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are trying to work out, if he thinks it will actually happen this time.

Take a listen.


SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): This country has gotten so partisan they can't even have a commonsense discussion about what we can do together and find that common ground. It's incredibly difficult.

I really applaud Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Cornyn and Tillis, particularly those four, for the efforts they're making. It is a very, very tough go, because of the politics in this country. And that is a sad state of affairs for America.


ROMERO: And while lawmakers in D.C. are still debating on what this looks like, here in Alabama, people are reeling from the shooting.

The leaders at the church say they will have service this weekend as normal. And they don't want any of their parishioners to be too afraid to come out. They want everyone, Ana, to lean into their faith right now.

CABRERA: That's an awful situation.

Nadia Romero, thank you.

Meantime, in Washington, a landmark compromise on gun legislation has hit a logjam. We're told talks between Senate Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse in what would be Congress's first bill on gun violence in years might be in jeopardy.

CNN's Manu Raju joins us now from Capitol Hill.

Manu, I understand you have brand-new reporting on the state of the talks. Fill us in.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're still plotting along and there's still grim some prognosis from one Republican source I spoke to who is familiar with the discussions and blames Democratic staff for changing what was agreed to on the -- among the members.

And suggesting that there's essentially what they're pushing ahead is not something that Republicans could get behind. Democrats dispute that characterization.

But, Ana, what the issue here is that they're having a difficult time moving from the agreement that was reached over the weekend.

It was an agreement in principle on how to deal with issues involving school security, how to ensure that people who are mentally unwell don't get access to guns. Bolster the mental health care system in the country. Expand background checks for -- to ensure people under 21 have access to juvenile records.

But they're having a very difficult time turning that into detailed legislative text over two issues in particular.

One of them dealing with the so-called state Red Flag laws. That's money that the negotiators want to provide states to provide, to implement laws that could allow them to take away guns from people deemed unfit.

Republicans want that money - those states to use that money beyond just implementing Red Flag laws.

And also closing the so-called boyfriend loophole. That is an issue in which Democrats have been pushing for some time to ensure that partners, or romantically involved people, not married yet, domestic partners, people convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic abuse don't have access to firearms.

But that issue about the boyfriend loophole is proving to be incredibly problematic. They're trying to define what constitutes a boyfriend. At what point can the person's weapon be taken away? Do they have the right to petition to get that back?

And of which is raising major concerns on the Hill that if they don't reach a final agreement on the details in the next few days, the effort could collapse, Ana, because they are trying to get this done by the end of next week before Senators break for Fourth of July over a two-week period.

If there's no deal by that Fourth of July recess, perhaps there can be no law. Despite all the optimism that they could get a deal here, now that things seem to be hanging on a nice edge -- Ana?

CABRERA: Manu Raju, thank you for the update.


They're the kinds of records we don't want to set. Scorching heat, devastating droughts, destructive flooding. Just how extreme is this? And is it the new norm?


CABRERA: Today, President Biden is sending a clear message to other nations on fighting climate change: Hurry up. He is urging them to accelerate plans to cut methane emissions and get more zero-emission vehicles on the road.

[13:45:03] It's not hard to see why these matters. Look at what's happening across the U.S. this week. The U.S. Geological Survey says the devastating flooding that swept away this house along the Yellowstone River was greater than a one in 500-year event.

Right now, nearly 40 million people are under heat alerts from the southeast to the central plains. Some areas are feeling triple-digit heat.

In the southwest, extreme drought is creating ideal conditions for wildfires and drying up the country's largest reservoirs.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is joining us from the Weather Center.

Allison, this extreme weather doesn't stop there. What more can you tell us?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. And the big concern, especially when it comes to fires, is that we're not even in peak season yet. Yet, the numbers are already higher than they normally would be for this time of year.

Take this year. We've had almost three million acres burn so far. That's more than a million acres more than we normally would be for that 10-year average by this particular date.

Again, a lot of that has to do with the fact that this year has been an exceptional one in terms of fires. Right now, we have 21 large active fires spread out across five different states.

One of the key components has been the heat. The heat has been a huge contributing factor to the wildfires.

But it's also been a huge contributing factor to a lot of the severe thunderstorms, because heat is fuel for those thunderstorms. You look at all the storm reports we've had over the last 72 hours, a lot of tornado reports, a lot of damaging wind reports, even hail reports.

The concern there is what that's done to the power outages. Look at this. You still have over 300,000 people without power. Nearly a half a dozen states that, again, the big concern there, Ana, is these people without power, without air-conditioning, are dealing with those incredibly intense temperatures.

CABRERA: So when you try to put this into perspective for people, I think it's easy to say, yes, it's hot right now. But just how unusual is this?

CHINCHAR: Right. So you often get hot temperatures and especially in the summer. But what you have to understand is we had a very intense heat dome that took place over the center portion of the country.

Basically, when you have that high pressure, it keeps forcing all of that hot air to stay at the surface. Normally, you'd get it to kind of mix around. Heat rises and comes back down. But in doing so, these patterns shift. Maybe you get a high-pressure

system for a couple days and then it exits the region. But this high- pressure system sat in place for days, even weeks in some of these areas.

You had areas in Texas that had more than five days in a row of record-breaking temperatures, maybe a break for a day and then another round of multiple days.

Looking at the records, Austin, Texas, hitting 103. Memphis hitting 100. Same with Salt Lake, Macon. And even Greenwood, Mississippi. And this is just from yesterday. Keep in mind, some of these have had multiple days.

There's more than 130 locations across the U.S. expecting record- breaking temperatures in the next couple of days. And again, a lot of the dots have had them. The concern there is really the prolonged nature of a lot of this intense heat.

Now some areas, thankfully, Ana, will get a temporary break. Take Chicago, for example. A high on Saturday of 71. But notice again, we're right back into the triple-digit temperatures by next week.

There's not much of a chance for your body to get relief from the heat and be able to cool down.

CABRERA: OK. Information is power. Hopefully, people take action.

Thank you, Allison Chinchar.

At least a dozen children thought they were drinking milk. It turns out it was floor sealant. How does a mix up like this even happen? That's next.



CABRERA: A dozen children at a summer program thought they were drinking milk until it started burning their throats and mouths. The milk turned out to be floor sealant.

This mix-up happened at an elementary school in Juno, Alaska. And at least one student was treated at a hospital. Officials say they contacted Poison Control. But the school district says there was a delay in notifying parents.

As for how this mix up happened, officials say a pallet of floor sealant was mistakenly delivered to a food warehouse used by the school. The district is holding a special meeting today to discuss what happened.

It's official. Today, the FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. This includes both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

CNN health reporter, Jacqueline Howard, joins us with more details.

Jacqueline, just how soon can the youngest get vaccinated, and where?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Ana, we could see shots start as soon as next week, so possibly Monday and Tuesday. And what we know so far, we do know that 10 million doses of vaccine are available for preorder for states and territories.

And as for where kids could get vaccinated, we could see vaccines mostly being administered at pediatricians' offices and pharmacies. So those are the two main sites.

Now, for each vaccine, for the Moderna vaccine, it's administered in two doses, given four weeks apart. And for the Pfizer vaccine for this age group, it's administered in three doses. So the first two doses are administered three weeks apart. That third dose is given eight weeks later.

Based on clinical trial data, Ana, we do know the common side effects include pain at the injection site, fever, headache, chills, fatigue.

And we also know that the immune response that the vaccines elicit in this young age group, according to clinical trial data, it's similar to what we've seen in adults so far.


So that's what we know about what we could expect next week, that's what we know about the side effects, and that's what we know about the immune response that we could see -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, so we're just waiting on the CDC to green light that last little check that has to be made. And then, of course --

HOWARD: Exactly.

CABRERA: -- parents can reach out to their pediatrician to get more information on getting those shots.

Jacqueline Howard, thank you for bringing us that happy news on this Friday, especially for parents who have been waiting for so long.

That is going to do it for us today. I'll see you back here on Monday, same time, same place. Until then, you can always find me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera. Thank you for spending part of your Friday with us.

Don't go anywhere. The news continues right after this.