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Club Q Suspect Expected to Face Murder, Hate Crime Charges; Alabama Governor Asks to Pause Executions After Failed Lethal Injections; Today, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to Visit Southern Border. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 10:00   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We're hearing the incredible story of the man who first tackled and disarmed the gunman.


RICHARD FIERRO, TOOK DOWN GUNMAN IN CLUB Q SHOOTING: I saw the ACU pattern flak vest. And for me, that was like, there is a handle. I'm getting it. So, I ran across the room, grabbed the handle and pulled him down and then started to -- well, actually, I think I went for his gun with him. His rifle flew in front of him.

And the young man that tried to jump in there with me, he -- we both either pulled him down or whatever, but he ended up with his head right next to the A.R. And then with the A.R., I told him push the A.R., get it away from him, the kid pushed the A.R., I don't know what his name was. And then I proceeded to take his other weapon, the pistol and then just started hitting him where I could.


SCIUTTO: The A.R. being an A.R.-15, a long rifle. We're also learning more this morning about victims who were killed. 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, he was the boyfriend of Richard Fierro's daughter. Raymond's family says he was a kind, selfless young man with his entire life ahead of him. His closest friend described him as a gifted one-of-a-kind person willing to go out of his way to help anyone.

Kelly Loving was visiting Colorado Springs from her home in Denver. Her sister described her as such a caring person. Another close friend said Kelly had been a resource for other trans women.

Family members say that Ashley Paugh, pictured there, had a huge heart, and that her 11-year-old daughter, Riley, was her entire world. Her family says Ashley was also a loving aunt with many nieces and nephews, of course, devastated by her loss.

28-year-old Daniel Aston, bar supervisor at Club Q, pictured there, a co-worker said he was the best supervisor anybody could have ask for. Daniel moved to Colorado Springs two years ago to be closer to his mother and father. They say he had so much more life to give.

And Derrick Rump what was a bartender at Club Q. His sister says he found a community of people that he loved. Club regulars and friends described him as a good listener with a heavy pour as a bartender, and said he had a way of making everyone feel welcome.

Senseless murder, those five lives lost.

We're also hearing from some of those who were injured, and there were many of them in the shooting. Barrett Hudson was shot seven times by the gunman. He says, he doesn't know how he's still alive. Here is what he shared with CNN from his hospital bed.


BARRETT HUDSON, CLUB Q SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It was repeatedly over, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. And then about seven to ten, I knew something was wrong. I looked to my right. The gunman -- the door had shut, the gunman is standing there and this dude put his hands down, or put them up and put them like down and took a step or two back from him and the gunman murdered him right in front of me.

I took off running to the back and I got shot. I knew I got shot a few times. I fell down. He proceeded to shoot me. I got back up. I made it out of the back of the club. I'd been shot seven times, or seven times by now. I've been grazed once. I hopped on a table, hopped about a 10 to 12-foot chain-link fence. It might have been -- had barbed wire at the top. I don't know. I ran about 20 to 30 yards, jumped down about 10, 15 feet off of a ledge. And I ran across street to 7-Eleven where I collapsed.

I -- these people helped me. They stopped the bleeding. They saved my life. And they had me almost completely naked, because they had to cut my clothes off to find out where I was bleeding from and everything.

And once they started to count out the bullet holes and they got past five, I reached in my -- I got my phone and I called my dad because me and my dad are like best friends. It is really a great, weird relationship. And he's always stood by me through thick and thin. And that was the last person that I wanted to talk to.

And I don't know how I'm here. I do not know how I'm here. I don't know how I'm walking. All seven bullets missed my spine, missed my liver, missed my colon. They cut me in five places in my chest and put cameras in and went through everything.


And I got really, really lucky.


SCIUTTO: Lord, he did. Shot seven times and survived.

CNN Correspondent Rosa Flores, she has been following the developments from Colorado Springs. Rosa, we're learning more this morning about the suspect, as well his family and some missed potential warning signs. Tell us more about his prior run-ins in with police. ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is one particular case, Jim, and this is from June of last year, when he was in a standoff with police. And we have video of him surrendering. Take a look at your screen. This is the suspect surrendering to police after his mother called police about a bomb threat, saying that he had multiple weapons and also ammunition. Now, what was happening inside the home is he was live streaming and ranting about police. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your boy. I've got the (BLEEP) outside. Look at that, they've got a beat on me. You see that right there, (BLEEP) got their (BLEEP) rifles out. If they breach, I'm going to (BLEEP) blow it to holy hell.


FLORES: Now, according to a press release issued by the sheriff's office at the time, it mentioned that the suspect was charged with multiple counts, including first-degree kidnapping and also felony menacing, but those charges were dropped, according to the district attorney. He says that the charges were dropped, the records were sealed, and the important point here is that that would have not appeared on a background check when he purchased the weapons that he used here at Club Q.

Now, also just into CNN, we're learning a little more about the suspect changing his name back in 2016. Now, this is in a Texas court, and the suspect, it was just before his 16th birthday. And according to records, court records, his original name, birth name was Nicholas F. Brink, and he changed his name to Anderson L. Aldrich.

Now, Jim, it is unclear why he changed his name and it is unclear if this has anything to do with it. But, again, we're just starting to learn a little bit more about his background. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Also in his background, the suspect's grandfather, a California lawmaker, what more do we know about him and his past public statements?

FLORES: You know, he has garnered attention in the past for comparing the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th to the revolutionary war. Now, as you mentioned, the suspect's grandfather is an outgoing California assemblyman. His name is Randy Voepel.

Now, here is what he told the San Diego Union Tribune. He said, quote, this is Lexington and Concord, first shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20th.

Now, he tried to take that back, also saying that did he not condone violence on January 6th, that he did not condone violence in association with anything involving President Biden. But, again, Jim, we don't know exactly how much interaction the suspect had with his grandfather, when was the last time they interacted, and we've reached out to the Congressman's office and we have not heard back. Jim? SCIUTTO: Rosa Flores in Colorado Springs, thanks so much.

Well, the governor of Alabama has asked state's attorney general to pause all executions now and requested a top to bottom review of that state's capital punishment system, this after problems with multiple failed lethal injections.

CNN's Nick Valencia has been following this for us. Nick, tell us what led to this pause here and what is likely to happen now.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. Kay Ivey is saying she wants a top to bottom review, but she's already made up her mind about one thing, and that is that the Alabama Department of Corrections officers and officials and law enforcement are not to blame for the recent problems. She says it's legal tactics and criminals hijacking the system at fault for the recent problems.

Executions in Alabama and, really, the whole criminal justice system has been under the national spotlight for years, but particularly in recent months, especially after what happened last week. Last week, the state tried to execute Kenneth Smith. They had to abandon that execution after multiple legal challenges. So, after hours of last minute appeals, his execution was abandoned.

Smith's execution, of course, was already scrutinized. It was under intense scrutiny because of what happened earlier this summer in Alabama in July when the state tried to execute Joe James. The death penalty information center calling James' execution a botched execution because he had to wait three hours to perish after he was given the first dose of lethal injection.

Currently, there are two pending motions set for execution dates, one for an inmate named James Barber, another for an inmate Alan Miller.


And while Kay Ivey says that she's fully committed to getting to the bottom of what is going on here and the problems that they're having, the Death Penalty Information Center cautions us, saying that this is not an independent investigation, saying also that given their past, the Department of Corrections there in Alabama, they could not be trusted rather to meaningfully investigate their incompetence and wrongdoing. So, clearly a lot of problems going on here, Jim. Whether or not they'll get to the bottom of it depends on really who you ask at this point. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Something to follow closely. Nick Valencia, thanks so much.

Coming up next, the man set to be the next House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, on his way to the southern border today as we get a clearer picture of his focus when Republicans take control of the House. I'm going to speak to a GOP congressman, Don Bacon, who says it is time for the moderate wing of the party to, quote, flex their muscles.

Plus, 54 million people expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Airlines are hiring at a breakneck pace. CNN takes you behind the scene as they work to train staff to take care of all of us.

And later, a stunning upset at the World Cup, Argentina, one of the favorites, and its international star, Lionel Messi, they fell to Saudi Arabia. We're going to be live in Qatar, coming up.



SCIUTTO: In just a few hours, GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy expected to visit the U.S. border in El Paso, Texas. It follows the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer, sending letters to the Biden administration officials on Monday asking for a host of documents related to border, fentanyl trafficking across the border and broader immigration issues.

Joining me now to discuss this and other issues on the Republican agenda, Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska, he sits on the Armed Services Committee. Congressman, thanks for taking the time this morning.

REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Thank you, Jim, for having me on again.

SCIUTTO: Good to have you back. You were quoted in Politico recently saying it is time for centrists, as you describe yourself, to flex our muscles in the Republican caucus. As you know, Congress has discussed but not moved on comprehensive immigration reform for 20-some odd years that would include increased security at the border but also the ability to bring in workers that the industries such as agriculture and so on are looking for. Is there any broad support among Republicans, among Democrats you talked to, too actually moving on legislation in this space?

BACON: I actually think we were close, Jim, even three and four years ago. But the problem was the Democrats said they wanted not even one mile of wall. We have a president that ran on wall. If we could agree on some of the security measures for the southern border, I think we can make some great strides on legal immigration.

The employers in Nebraska say the number one need right now is workers, and there is need for seasonal workers, high skilled workers. We can forge agreement there. If there is a lack of appetite, if we can't fix what is obviously broken, anybody could see it, what's going on in the southern border right now is a travesty, 750 people have died this year alone on the border, most in the Rio Grande. So, if we can get commitments, hard commitments from the administration on security areas, I think we could make some strides on the illegal immigration side.

SCIUTTO: Is there -- are there other areas of potential agreement? So, Republicans took the House and granted a small majority, and you have a very powerful House Freedom Caucus and they're dragging the party away from positions that you as a centrist have taken as a Republican here, are there any practical issues that you see working across the aisle to get things passed in the next two years or are we more likely to see battles back and forth, like we often do? BACON: Well, if we're going to remain the strongest country in the world, you can't be stuck in neutral. China is not in neutral. They're moving out. So, we have got to find areas of consensus with our colleagues. By the way, this way James Madison designed the system so no one faction could control and factions have more together.

And so I think we have the opportunity to hit a lot of singles. For example, telehealth, there is a huge demand for more telehealth. We have a shortage of health care workers. That is an area that Republicans and Democrats by and large agree on. I think we could expand associational pools so that folks will have more options for their health care.

I also think when it comes to national security, there is a broad consensus on the Republican side and maybe even more on the Democrat side on the need to bolster our alliances. We can't face China, Russia and Iran alone. And I do think there is -- you'll hear from the minority on Ukraine, the majority of Republicans support keeping Ukraine independent. We know an independent Ukraine is in our national security interest, the far majority. So, I think there are areas that are broad that we could work in.

SCIUTTO: Top of the ticket, you recently said you're looking for another candidate to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. I don't have to remind you that Donald Trump, the former president, has already announced his candidacy. Who do you believe in the Republican Party should take on Trump and could, frankly, come out on top?

BACON: Well, we just start by saying, I think center-right policies are popular. I mean, I've been able to run on that in this very purple district and win four times. However, suburban America, in particular, they do not like the name calling. They want self-control. We call it Nebraska Nice here in Omaha. So, they're left with respectful dialogue, the consensus building, more of a Ronald Reagan personality of trying to attract more people to our party, not divide it.


So, we need to find a nominee that is conservative but also wanted to grow a tent for the Republican Party. And do you it by being inviting and being decent, having self-control. And so that is the backdrop. And I think we have a lot of candidates that fit that bill. I mean, ranging from whether it is Nikki Haley, Tim Scott. I think DeSantis has a lot of the policy positions of President Trump but he has a lot of self-control to messaging.

So, I think we have some great candidates that will be very successful competitive as a nominee. But I don't think the American people want this bombast behavior where we're doing all of the name calling and fact is I'm sick of it myself too. So, I'm with the middle on that.

SCIUTTO: I hear you. Well, we'll take some Nebraska Nice then.

If Trump were the candidate, if he wins out in a primary, would you still support him? BACON: You know, I'm not inclined to say that yet. I think we should go through the primary and see how people conduct themselves, who is the opponent. But right now, I think it would be not good for the country, it is too divisive. It is not good for the party. In the midterm years, you can lose 50, 60 seats and that is what we could do in 2026 if he was our president.

So, I think we've already had losses in 2018, 2020, 2022. We need to have someone that knows how to bring victory to the party and for our country.

SCIUTTO: You've seen the coverage of the shooting in Colorado Springs, an all too familiar story in this country. And what is striking about this one is that here is someone who had a prior encounter with police. E had video we've aired just a few minutes ago of him seeming to threaten the police. His own mother called in a threat that he made to her. Colorado had a state red flag law. It didn't appear to work in this case, right?

I wonder, as you look at that and as you discuss areas of potential agreement between centrist Republicans like yourself and Democrats, does the U.S. need a national red flag law?

BACON: Well, here again, like you said, they have one and it wasn't enforced. I could look at the latest shootings in Texas, in Chicago and now in Colorado, where if a person would have been charged with crimes that they were guilty of, it appears, I mean, you could say allegedly, they would have been unable to get a gun. So, in Texas, the shooter in Uvalde had tortured cats. So, we reported him on video. He would have been likely been charged with a felony, couldn't have gone up and buy guns, you could say, some stores in Chicago and now also in Colorado.

The problem we have laws on the book that are not being enforced, and it think that is the real issue. We need to enforce the laws that we have. And in three of these cases that we know of, they wouldn't have had a right to buy a gun anyway.

And all of the carnage again. Congressman don bacon of the great state of Nebraska, thank you for coming on the show today.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and all the carnage, we see it again. Well, Congressman Don Bacon, have a great and nice day in Nebraska. Thanks so much for coming back on the show today.

BACON: Yes, sir.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, we are learning exactly how much Disney's returning CEO will make for his trouble, but he's also considering a change at the company that could save you some money.

And Elon Musk once again delays his plan to have Twitter users pay for that blue verified checkmark, details on what is holding things up again.


SCIUTTO: Bob Iger's return to Disney could lead to some big changes at the entertainment giant. The company's stock down a bit this morning after the new CEO announced a plan to restructure shortly after he returned to the helm just this week.

CNN Business Reporter Matt Egan joins me now. Matt, the stock was way up yesterday, welcoming the news of his return. So, what specific changes is he talking about making now?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jim, Bob Iger does not wait any time. Even though yesterday was just his first full day back at the helm of Disney, he didn't waste any time to try to unwind some of the restructuring done by his predecessor, ousted CEO Bob Chapek.

Last night, Iger sent out a memo announcing the departure of the head of Disney media and entertainment distribution. Now, that was a unit created by Chapek. Iger announced a broader shakeup at the company. He's trying to put the decision-making power into the hands of creative scenes, just trying to unwind Chapek's central planning approach to the company.

And there are also some questions about whether or not Iger wants to roll back Chapek's aggressive approach to pricing. Because Disney+ launched 2019 under Iger at $6.99 a month, but the plan is to bump that price up to $10.99 a month starting December, some questions about whether or not Iger is going to actually go forward with that.

We also got new details about how much money Disney's board is paying Iger to lure him out of retirement. SEC filings show that Iger is going to make a million dollars a year base salary, up to a million dollars a year for annual bonus and then there is annual incentive based compensation with a target value of $25 million.


If you put it together, $27 million is potentially what Iger is going to be making. That would make him one of the highest paid executives in Hollywood.

But, look, he has his got work cut out.