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Suspected Gunman Enters LGBTQ Nightclub And Kills Five, Injures 25 Others; President Biden Reacts To Colorado Nightclub Shooting; Special Counsel To Oversee Trump-Related Investigations; Thanksgiving Dinner Costs More Compared To Last Year; Still No Suspect Or Murder Weapon Recovered In The Idaho Killings. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 20, 2022 - 18:00   ET



DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: And Iran, they're playing Wales tomorrow, and of course the Americans are going to be hosting the next World Cup in four years' time. So they would love to do well here this year.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN HOST: Sure, and always nice to get a good luck call from the president before you play.

Don Riddell, thanks so much.

And the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Witnesses say that he entered that nightclub in Colorado Springs and immediately opened fire. There are five people who were killed, 18 others injured.

CHIEF ADRIAN VASQUEZ, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT: At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill.

LT. PAMELA CASTRO, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE: The suspect was detained and subsequently taken into custody.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We will fiercely and vigorously oppose any attempts at Republican overreach and any Republican extremism.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): I think that there are enough people in Congress in both parties that will agree we need to tighten our ethics laws and tighten our transparency and reporting laws.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I would not be surprised if Kevin McCarthy has to cut deals with Democrats, which is something he needs to keep in mind because he's not going to get 218 votes for everything he wants to pass.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: The Qatar 2022 World Cup is officially under way. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first tournament in a Muslim country. The

Middle East is a region that has an absolutely obsessive love of football. It was the hotbed of football culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something we wanted to do for a long time and this was probably once in a lifetime.


FISHER: I'm Kristin Fisher in for Pamela Brown tonight, and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A loaded gun, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, and now five people are dead, 25 left injured, some critically. Police have a 22- year-old suspect in custody. A short time ago I spoke with Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez and I asked him if they have classified this officially yet as a hate crime. Here's what he said.


VASQUEZ: That's really an integral part of this investigation. I think we have to be very careful about what we say prior to the investigation but certainly when you have a club like this targeted, you have to consider that as a possible motive.


FISHER: Police say exactly five minutes after they got that initial call that someone had opened fire inside Club Q, officers already had the suspect in custody. It was a fast response. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers praising bystanders who reportedly sprang into action to subdue the shooter before he could do even more damage.


MAYOR JOHN SUTHERS, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO: This was over by 12:02 and that's largely because of the intervention of at least one, possibly two very heroic individuals who subdued this guy. Appears to have taken his handgun, he had a handgun with him, and use it to disable him, and so -- not shoot him but to hit him with the gun, and disable him.

But for that, as tragic as this incident is, it's a horrible crime, it could have been much, much worse whereas but for these heroic actors.


FISHER: Joining us with more Natalie Devereaux from CNN affiliate KKTV.

Natalie, you were at the vigil this evening for victims. What was it like? What stood out to you there?

NATALIE DEVEREAUX, KKTV REPORTER: Kristin, that vigil has now since ended but it first started at 11:30 at the All Soul's Unitarian Church here in Colorado Springs. And although it has ended as you can see behind me people are still leaving flowers and just moments ago a passerby came and left more.

Now when that vigil was happening there was a line out the door and down the street of people coming in to support the community and those pews were absolutely packed. We heard from speakers like Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Springs Mayor Suthers. And I did have the opportunity to speak with the Club Q owners themselves. They tell me this type of violence is unimaginable.

They also say they arrived on scene He had a chance to speak with the owners themselves. They tell me this type of violence is unimaginable. They also say they arrived on scene within minutes of the shootings which happened just before midnight. They tell me what they witnessed at their club is too difficult to put into words.

Police tell us two people were able to take down the alleged gunman and Club Q owners tell me other patrons jumped into help. As of now we know five people are dead and the club owners tell me employees are among those who lost their lives. Police say at least 25 people are injured.

Authorities are still investigating and have custody of the building right now. They tell us they're looking into the motive behind the shooting, one being a possible hate crime. Now police have not released a picture of the alleged shooter -- Kristin.

FISHER: Yes, Natalie, police say the exact motive still under investigation. That they're of course looking into whether or not this was a hate crime.


And we're hearing that there are only two gay clubs in this city of nearly half a million people. Colorado Springs, the governor described it as a real place of safety for that community. So how are people there reacting to these shootings and encroaching on their safe space?

DEVEREAUX: When I spoke with the Club Q owners they tell me they've been in business for over 20 years and are a strong pillar in the community. And like I said, just through those doors hours ago, it was packed with people coming to support. It's definitely an emotional time here in Colorado Springs -- Kristin.

FISHER: Natalie Devereaux from our affiliate KKTV in Colorado Springs. Natalie, thank you so much.

So reaction to this latest mass shooting is pouring in from officials in Colorado, and all over the country really. Colorado Governor Jared Polis calling it an act of evil.


GOV. JARED POLIS (D), COLORADO: This was just a place of safety for people. It was a place where people could, in a conservative community, often get the acceptance that too many of them might not have had at home or in their other circles. And to see this occur has really just put us in a state of shock here in Colorado and across the country.


FISHER: And Governor Polis telling CNN that while the motivation for the attack is not yet clear, quote, "There is no good motivation."

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the shooting has shattered the sense of safety for LGBTQ Americans and the president of GLAD, the world's largest advocacy group for LGBTQ acceptance, called the incident unspeakable saying that it has robbed countless people of their friends and family. And President Biden today also with a forceful reaction to the tragedy in Colorado Springs and a demand to end the hateful sentiment behind it.

So let's get straight to the White House and CNN's Jeremy Diamond.

Jeremy, the president and vice president both coming out with very strong statements today in the wake of this mass shooting.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Kristin. And as you reported police haven't yet identified a motive but the president was very quick given the circumstances of this shooting to note the history of violence against the LGBTQ community calling to mind the attacks at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that happened six years ago and also the epidemic of violence the president noting against transgender women.

The president saying in a statement, quote, "Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence, yet it happens far too often. He goes on to say that we need to drive out inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI Plus people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate."

Now the president is also of course using this moment to call attention to the fact that this shooter had a long gun, allegedly, and asking when will we decide as a nation that we have had enough. The president noting that he was able to get into law one of the most significant pieces of bipartisan gun reform legislation in decades but at the same time saying that much more is needed.

The president over the last several months has been calling once again for an assault weapons ban and once again he is reviving that call today saying we must do more. In the meantime, the president offering his prayers to the families of those who died in this tragic shooting and also those who were injured and still recovering -- Kristin.

FISHER: Jeremy Diamond live at the White House for us. Jeremy, thank you.

Ed Davis, who is the former Boston police commissioner, joins us now.

And Ed, you know, you were involved in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing investigation and manhunt, but I'd love to get your take on what investigators are dealing with in Colorado Springs tonight specifically as they look into this big question right now, motive. What can you tell us about, you know, how they are going about answering this question of whether or not this was a hate crime?

ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Look, Kristin, it's a terrible incident that occurred out there. A terrible tragedy for the families involved and we can't forget that the people who were wounded live with these wounds for many years afterwards as they have from the marathon and friends of mine who were in the police department that have been shot and are still suffering with these wounds. So this type of conduct is horrible.

What's going on with the police and the investigators here is very complex. The chief mentioned a bunch of very important facts, but you have to remember that he's also working with the mayor's office and the prosecutor's office, and investigators at the state and federal level. So they always have to come to a consensus on what can be released and when the information can be released.

He's part of a bigger team that's dictating that and, you know, specific information about the suspect and specific information about the motive can't come out until all the facts are on the table. That's certainly understandable. But I can tell you that there is an enormous investigation going on right now. The FBI has team members in there as they often do in high profile incidents like this, and so they are methodically going through the crime scene.


This was a big open space. I went online and looked at the interior of the building and, you know, someone walks in with a gun, DHS tells us to run, hide or fight, and in this situation there wasn't much you could do to run or hide. The only thing you could do was fight and it was so great to see two civilians who jumped into action here and disarm this guy. But the investigations are ongoing.

FISHER: Yes. Yes.

DAVIS: They are investigating all of the background to this guy and doing forensics and making sure they have the full picture on the table before they release any facts.

FISHER: Sure. So in addition to investigating motive, of course, police are also investigating the suspect's past, possibly a connection with a previous bomb threat. Why would we not already know if this is -- why would police not already know why or if this is the same person or not?

DAVIS: Well, frankly, they do know. There's no doubt that they would know if this is the same person. They're just not ready to release that information right now. And the reasons for that is to be definitive, to make sure that you're not releasing any mistaken information. If you'll remember in the case of Uvalde there was a lot of information pushed out and some of it wasn't correct. So there is a propensity to hold back and make sure that all the facts are on the table.

But from what I've read this is clearly the same guy who has a mental health history, who's been charged with menacing in the past, and that hasn't been confirmed yet but I think that's clearly the way this is going to go.

FISHER: Understood. So the Colorado governor says that the red flag law might have been available to those who may have seen the warning signs if this is indeed the same person. Do you agree? What do you think about that?

DAVIS: It's very important to look closely at that. You have to get the facts and circumstances on the table but someone who is spiraling downward like this often shows signs and oftentimes family members are either confused or hesitant to involve themselves in it are people who are very close to them, friends and relatives, and things like that.

The bottom line is, if there's a red flag law, there's a responsibility in the state to do something and that has to be utilized if it's in place and if people didn't do what they were supposed to do. Five people died as a result of this. You cannot allow this to happen.

FISHER: Former police commissioner Ed Davis, thank you so much and thank goodness for those two Good Samaritans who fought back and that really fast response time from police. Thank you so much.

DAVIS: Thank you.

FISHER: So new reaction coming in just days after the DOJ appoints a special counsel to handle multiple investigations into former President Trump. Our legal expert weighs in on the likelihood that the special counsel actually goes after Trump.

And right now officials in Idaho are giving us an update on the murders of four college students as the killer remains at large. Our Camila Bernal is there with a live report coming right up.

And the cost of your turkey day feast, yes, it's going up. So how much more can you expect to pay and how to save a little bit of money, coming up.



FISHER: New reaction today after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the Trump-related investigations into January 6th, and those missing documents found at Mar-a-Lago. House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff hitting back at the former president's suggestion that the move was politically motivated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're still going to say it's political.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They're still going to say it, but it's the right thing to do and most particularly if you ensure that it won't cause any delay. So if the same prosecutors that have been investigating the former president and others can be moved on to this special prosecutor's team, then there's every reason to do it, no reason not to do it. And I think the person he's chosen seems to be evidently capable and qualified.


FISHER: CNN's Sara Murray joins us now with more.

Sara, there was a lot of people talking about this on the Sunday shows this morning. What are some other reactions that you're hearing?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, look, obviously, we heard the reaction from the former President Donald Trump. He's very unhappy about this. He's had experienced with this with Robert Mueller. So of course he's not pleased to have a special counsel. But, you know, when Merrick Garland came out, he made this announcement, he made it clear that he thought it was something that he needed to do because Donald Trump has announced he's running for president, Joe Biden has suggested he is going to run for re-election.

And it's interesting seeing the reaction this morning from Rod Rosenstein. This is something who appointed Robert Mueller to be the special counsel. He was asked what he thought about this decision. Listen to what he had to say.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I believed under the circumstances I faced the appointment of Robert Mueller was the right thing to do with the regard to the Russia investigation. But I think in this case Merrick Garland clearly made a discretionary decision. The department had been handling this itself for two years. Could have continued to handle it itself. But he believed that this would help to promote public confidence. I think it remains to be seen whether that's the case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you wouldn't have done this yourself?

ROSENSTEIN: As I said, it's easy to second-guess from outside. I think my inclination given that the investigation has been going on for some time and given the stage which they've reached is that I probably would not have. But I just can't tell from the outside.


MURRAY: So he's, you know, a little bit more skeptical about whether this was the right move to take. I mean, you have to remember his experience. He saw that having a special counsel didn't necessarily create a lot of public confidence. There were still a lot of political attacks aimed at Robert Mueller, aimed at him during that time so that could be part of what's spewing the skepticism.

But, look, the special counsel, Jack Smith, has said, you know, when he comes in he's going to deal with this independently, but he has also promised that the pace of the investigation is not going to flag, that it's not going to pause.


So we'll see. You know, there's nothing quite like taking on two investigations involving a former president. It's a very big deal.

FISHER: Yes. Here we go again. So interesting to get his take

MURRAY: Yes. Absolutely.

FISHER: On a new special counsel. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

So let's discuss with former federal prosecutor and at one time a DOJ special counsel himself, Michael Zeldin.

Good evening, Michael.


FISHER: So what's your read on all this? Was appointing a special counsel the right move for Merrick Garland?

ZELDIN: It was the safe move. It wasn't a necessary move under the regulations but these are extraordinary circumstances and that's what the regulations contemplate. And I think that Garland knows that this case is going to be flyspeck by everybody from now on. And so let it be started now or continued now with a special counsel because this thing may go for another year before they get to a trial, if there is a trial, then there could be another year of appeals.

And so it safeguards the investigation because should there be a change of administration in 2024, the special counsel continues. It can't be ended by a new Republican attorney general. That's what we saw Barr do in the appointment of Durham. So I think it's protector of the investigation and safe.

FISHER: So there's been some speculation of course that this means that the Department of Justice is seriously considering indicting the former president. Now an official 2024 presidential contender. Do you agree?

ZELDIN: I don't think you can reach that conclusion. I think you can reach the conclusion that the investigation is ongoing as opposed to being ready to be wrapped up. Because it was ready to be wrapped up either by closing it or issuing an indictment then you really wouldn't need a special counsel. So I think this indicates that the investigation is ongoing, whether we're in the seventh inning or the ninth inning, I don't know. But it is still active.

FISHER: Understood. So in the meantime, some Republicans are reacting to all of this by calling for another special counsel, one to investigate Hunter Biden, of course the president's son. Here's one example. Senator John Cornyn, who is a member of the Republican leadership, and he wrote that, quote, "Garland's appointment is an admission of a conflict of interest by the DOJ. Now acknowledged the obvious conflict of interest in Hunter Biden investigation and appoint a special counsel. No double standard." Does he have a point? ZELDIN: I don't think it's a good point. He has a point. But I don't

think that really the allegations that we have in the public domain about Hunter Biden necessitates at this point a special counsel. If going down the line, the prosecutors believe that this somehow implicates President Biden in a way that compromises the integrity of the attorney general then perhaps. But I don't think we're anywhere near that yet on the facts that we know.

FISHER: All right. Well, Michael Zeldin, thank you so much for your perspective this evening.

ZELDIN: Thank you for having me.

FISHER: You bet.

So you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. And still ahead, you know what's coming up this week, Thanksgiving. It's just days away. But before you carve the turkey, you may be trying to figure out how to cut some costs this year thanks to inflation. So we're going to ask an expert, Ann Barry, for her tips, next.



FISHER: If you've been planning your Thanksgiving celebration for later this week, with turkey and all the trimmings, I don't have to tell you that it's going to cost a bit extra this year. In fact, a lot extra. 20 percent extra to be exact. The Farm Bureau's Annual Thanksgiving survey estimates that the average cost for a 10-person meal this year is up to $64.05.

Ann Barry joins us now. She is the founder of investment company Thread Needle Ventures.

Ann, good evening.


FISHER: Of course. So a 20 percent price hike sounds extreme. Is this a supply chain issue, is this inflation or both?

BARRY: Well, when you actually look at food prices that is where it's been much more about inflation than it has been about supply chain. In recent months, there's one exception and that's wheat prices which have been directly impacted by the conflict in the Ukraine. The region is one of the largest exporters of grain in the world, and you've seen that direct impact on wheat-related products. So it's predominantly inflation but hopefully it's beginning to ease, though sadly not in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

FISHER: So as we look at, you know, people preparing Thanksgiving meals from years' past, any advice on how people can save some money as we head into Thanksgiving Day?

BARRY: Yes. Well, when you actually break down why you're seeing some of the biggest cost increases, you know, the "Wall Street Journal" ran an article today which showed flour is on average about 30 percent up, cranberry on average about 23 percent up, but there are nonetheless pockets. Walmart I know is running an offer to try to match the cost of last year's Thanksgiving turkey. Lidl is looking to deliver Thanksgiving meals to its customers with that $30. So value shopping going particularly to the large grocery retailers who have the benefits of being able to take a little bit lower margin around this holiday season. So those big value retailers are the place I'd be looking right now.


FISHER: So on Friday President Biden tweeted this. He said, "We're seeing initial signs that inflation is coming down. That's good news as we head into the holidays." Are you seeing the same signs or do you think that's wishful thinking from the president?

BARRY: I think it's accurate in the sense that when you take a look at two of the big indicators of inflation, one is the Consumer Price Index which hits our pockets the most physically, and then if you look at the Producer Price Index which looks at the price really to businesses as a source of the supply chain, both showed that inflation is still up, meaning prices are still increasing but the pace at which they're increasing is beginning to slow down.

So the indicators, the historical measurements, are showing signs of inflation easing. The components of inflation on a forward looking basis seem to be easing. But specifically when we look ahead to this holiday season where I do expect there to be one-off price decreases, is as we all gear up for those Black Friday discounts, retailers are going to look to move a lot of their inventory that's still sitting are way too much product sitting in their warehouses. So we're expecting big sales coming up on this Friday.

FISHER: Yes. So I was going to ask you because, you know, Black Friday, it almost seems as though it has decreased in importance over the last few years given the fact that the amount of big blockbuster discounts just haven't quite been there as much as they used to be. But with inflation so high, is this perhaps the year to jump on whatever deal you can get especially since a lot of stores have excess stock on their shelves?

BARRY: Well, it's interesting. I think the other reason that Black Friday has become a little bit less symbolic in the minds of the consumer or the shopper is that discount periods seems to be getting longer. I feel like seeing signs that started Black Friday started last Friday, extending toward the end of this week. And there are other big Amazon Prime Days for example which have captured the shock and imagination. But I do think this year we are likely to see particularly big discounts and I think cashes from that discounting is going to extend beyond the traditional Black Friday period into early December.

There's just so much excess stock sitting out there. I think the time to scoop up discounts, that end-of-the-year season, that Christmas season, may even extend over to early week after Thanksgiving. FISHER: All right. Well, I'm more of a Cyber Monday gal myself. So

I'll just wait for that.

Ann Barry, thanks so much.

So the World Cup soccer tournament is under way in Qatar and the U.S. team is preparing for its very first match. They take on Wales tomorrow. And this will be the first men's World Cup appearance for the United States in eight years.

Today President Biden wished them well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says POTUS. That's where it's coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, you have the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Coach, put me in. I'm ready to play.


BIDEN: You guys, I know you're the underdog but tell you what, man, you've got some of the best players in the world on your team and you are representing this country, and I know you're going to play your hearts out. So let's go shock them all.


FISHER: He's ready to play in the World Cup on his 80th birthday. According to the sporting news oddsmakers believe that the U.S. team will reach the knockout round but not advance much further.

Meanwhile, host team Qatar lost to Ecuador, 2-0. Prior to Sunday no host nation had lost its World Cup opening match in the previous 21 editions of the tournament. So that's going to hurt.

Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, an update tonight from law enforcement on the brutal killings of four University of Idaho students. Major parts of their story are still missing. What we've learned from a press conference that just wrapped up, next.

But first Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot in the head at a political event in 2011. A new CNN Film tells her inspiring comeback story "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN" tonight at 9:00.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us now is Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

GIFFORDS: If an idea is a good idea, it's a good idea.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Congresswoman Giffords was the target of the mass shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: She's beginning several months of rehab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me two fingers. All right. Give me five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not allowed to quit on me.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good news about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She was discharged today.

GIFFORDS: The words are there in my brain. I just can't get them out.

SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): She laughs at my jokes even when they're bad.

GIFFORD: It's funny. It's funny, funny. He's funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gabby Giffords, making her way back to the Capitol.

GIFFORDS: Too many children are dying. We must do something.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Nobody could have been more compelling than Gabby was that day.




FISHER: Moments ago police in Moscow, Idaho, provided an update on the brutal killings of four college students.

CNN's Camila Bernal was at that press conference. Camila, what did you learn?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristin, frankly, it was a very frustrating press conference because we did not get a lot of new information. Answers were not specifically answered, or the questions were not specifically answered. The one thing they continue to say is that they believe this was a targeted killing, and we asked, you know, why is this a targeted killing? And they do not want to give any further details.

They kind of explained a little bit about that 911 call that came in on Sunday at around noon. What they were saying is that that 911 call was made for one of the roommates' phones.


They will not say who made that phone call. And when reporters pressed the police about this, what they said was that there were other students or there were other friends at the home at the time when police arrived, so they will just not say who made this phone call to police and who exactly was at the house at the time that police arrived.

They went over the timeline once again saying that the two surviving roommates also went out that night, got back to the home at around 1:00 in the morning, saying Kaylee and Maddie went out. They were at the sports bar, then the food truck, came home at around 1:45 in the morning, got a ride home. And then we know Xana and Ethan, they were also out at a party, came home at around 2:00 in the morning.

Now, one thing they did also clarify is who they don't believe is a suspect in this case. Here is what the captain overseeing this case had to say.


CAPT. ROGER LANIER, MOSCOW POLICE: We do not believe the following individuals are involved in this crime, the two surviving roommates, a male seen at the Grub Truck food vendor downtown specifically wearing a white hoodie, a private party who provided rides home to Kaylee and Madison in the early morning hours of November 13th. Currently there are no suspects in custody and we have not located a weapon.


BERNAL: Now they, again, clarified that Kaylee and Maddie did make phone calls to someone that night after they got home, and they're saying that the person they called is also not a suspect in this case. They are looking for more surveillance videos, more tips. They say they interviewed 90 people and have gotten about 650 tips -- Kristin.

FISHER: Wow. And still so many questions. Camila Bernal, thank you.

Still -- excuse me. Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords is reacting to the mass shooting in Colorado Springs as a new film about her own recovery from an active gun violence premieres tonight on CNN. And we're going to speak to the directors of that film, Betsy West and Julie Cohen, about that and her remarkable resilience, next.



FISHER: Tonight gun control advocate and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords is reacting to the mass shooting in Colorado. She tweeted in part, "No one should fear for their lives because of who they are or who they love, but sadly our nation's gun laws too frequently allow individuals motivated by hate to commit heinous acts of violence. We do not have to accept this status quo. Our leaders must find the courage to act."

Well, 11 years ago it was Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman from Arizona at the time, was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in a grocery store parking lot. Now the new CNN Film "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN" takes viewers inside her relentless fight to recover from that 2011 assassination attempt and her new life as one of the most effective activists in the battle against gun violence today. Here's a preview.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): We have a former member of Congress here, Gabby Giffords, who is going to give a brief message. Miss Giffords?

GIFFORDS: Thank you for inviting me here today. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.


FISHER: Joining us now are the directors of "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN," Julie Cohen and Betsy West.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight.



FISHER: Of course. So, you know, Betsy, Gabby's story is obviously so remarkable and inspiring, but tell us a little bit more about why you wanted to tell it and why Gabby agreed to work with the two of you on this film because it's such a personal story.

WEST: Yes, I mean, when we met Gabby two and a half years ago on Zoom, we quickly realized that her story is kind of the ultimate comeback story, somebody so seriously injured who fought back. It's also a great romance with now Senator Mark Kelly. And, you know, she really is one of the most inspiring, extraordinary, spectacular people we've ever met.

FISHER: Julie, you had access to some just remarkable footage that Gabby's husband, Senator Mark Kelly, filmed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Honestly, I was watching the full promo for this film a few minutes ago and I caught myself getting seriously emotional watching it because that footage just shows you the enormity of Gabby's injuries and the difficulty of her recovery that I think maybe so much of us haven't seen or paid attention to or maybe forgot about. Talk to us a little bit more about the role that that footage in particular plays because it's hard to watch.

COHEN: Yes, you know, it's a really -- it was an extraordinary decision that then astronaut Mark Kelly made to record so many hours of footage of his wife in this incredibly difficult, vulnerable period of her life, but, also, an amazing period as she's relearning to speak, recovering both movement and language.

[18:50:21] People don't usually record that stuff, much less agree to share it with the public. But it's really so instructive it tells you so much about what someone goes through after a brain injury like this and what it takes to regain language.

FISHER: Yes, and it absolutely makes you appreciate every step that she has been able to take along the way to get to where she is today and now she's a powerful activist against gun violence. I mean she campaigned for her husband Mark Kelly in his recent reelection to the Senate. She rides her bike. She plays the French horn. What else do you see Gabby accomplishing in the years ahead?

WEST: You know, Gabby is also a fantastic singer I have to say and there's a lot of music in this film.

FISHER: Really?

WEST: She has a pretty joyous life and a very determined life. I mean, you read her tweet today. She is one of the major activists in, you know, helping to pass the recent legislation that Congress passed, gun safety legislation, and I think that she is going to continue to devote herself to that cause and to just enjoy being Mark Kelly's wife and supporting him as he has supported her. I mean, it's really like the ultimate feminist marriage and really living life to its fullest.

FISHER: So, Julie, this film obviously chronicles the progress that Gabby has made in the years following the shooting. But I can't help but think about all the challenges that she still faces in her life. Her whole life is just on such a different course than it was before the shooting. How does she deal with that? How does she remain optimistic despite all of these obstacles that she faces?

COHEN: Well, you know, optimism as people are going to see in the film is at the very core of Gabby Giffords' personality. It infuses everything she (INAUDIBLE). That was before the shooting, it's still true now. You know, in some -- in many ways of course her life has changed. Every day is a physical struggle and the -- there's an extra struggle to communicate ideas and yet she's able to do it. That's on going work. And yet, some of her life is quite similar. She's incredibly politically active.

She's involved very much in her husband's political career. She's involved in fighting to change gun laws and she's had a greater deal of success doing it, and she's also the same kind of, you know, singing, musical, you know, studying for her bar mitzvah just doing all the things that a person would do. So yes, there have been huge changes but she remains very much the Gabby Giffords she's always been.

FISHER: Well, I really can't wait to watch this film.

Betsy West, Julie Cohen, thank you so much.

And don't miss the premiere of the new CNN Film "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN," tonight at 9:00 here on CNN. The site of the latest mass shooting in America is at an LGBTQ club in

Colorado Springs. An update on the latest, what we've learned about that tragedy tonight, next.



FISHER: And back to our top story. Tonight, a suspect is in custody in Colorado Springs after a mass shooting an LGBTQ nightclub. Five people were killed in the midnight attack and another 25 were injured, some critically. But Police say it could have been so much worse. Reports say two bystanders jumped into action to subdue the shooter and prevent more loss of life.


VASQUEZ: Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club. While the suspect was inside of the club, at least two heroic people inside club confronted and fought with the suspect, and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others. We owe them a great debt of thanks.


FISHER: It just so happens that the LGBTQ community is marking the Transgender Day of Remembrance today. It honors the memory of people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-trans violence. And although we don't know for sure that this was a hate crime, it still makes scenes like this especially poignant as yet another community is forced to cope with yet another mass shooting in America.


SHENIKA MOSLEY, 14-YEAR PATRON OF CLUB Q: It was always good energy, it was never bad energy. And it just sucks that we'll never be able to like have that ever again. There's no more like -- there's two other clubs, like the gay clubs but like nothing beats the Q. Like nothing beats the Q.


FISHER: And President Biden forcefully condemned the attack issuing a statement that said in part, quote, "We cannot and must not tolerate hate."

Well, thank you so much for joining us me this evening. I'm in for Pamela Brown and I'm Kristin Fisher. "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" is up next.