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Nation Copes with Tragedy on Holiday After Mass Shooting; TSA Screened Near-Record 2.46 Million at Airports Wednesday; Electricity Restored to Ukraine Grid After Russian Attack. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 14:00   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Hi, I'm Alex Marquardt, welcome to a special edition of CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you so much for joining me on this Thanksgiving.

And as so many sit down with family today, others not as lucky. The country trying to come to terms with the ongoing epidemic of gun violence. 11 people ripped from their loved ones after -- this holiday after two of the most recent mass shootings in less than a week. one of course in Virginia, the other in Colorado, once again, prompting Americans to seek answers on how to stop these killings. President Joe Biden says that he plans to use the weeks left with both a Democratic House of Representatives and Senate to get an assault weapons ban passed before Republicans take control of the House in January. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to try to get rid of assault weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the lame duck?

BIDEN: I'm going to do whenever I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes.


MARQUARDT: We now know all of the names of the five adults gunned down on Tuesday in a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. Now, police did not reveal the name of the sixth victim, a 16-year-old because that victim is a minor. Investigators are saying that all were co-workers of the gunman, a Walmart Team Lead who turned the gun on himself. Now, one survivor described how close she was to getting shot on just her fifth day on the job.


JESSIE WILCZEWSKI, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO HAD GUN PUT TO HER HEAD: He slid out from out underneath the table and I'm shaken and I probably look like a chihuahua at that point. And he just had the gun up to my forehead. And, yes, it's really hard. He told me to go home. And he took the gun away from my forehand and he was aiming it at the ceiling and he suggests you go home.


MARQUARDT: CNN national correspondent Dianne Gallagher is in Chesapeake, Virginia. Dianne, as we heard there, more survivors are telling their stories. The mother of one worker who was shot multiple times says that she has so much to be thankful for today.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's true, Alex. And I can tell you that actually one of the hospitals here that had five patients from this shooting just told us this afternoon that one of those patients has been discharged. So, that's a little bit of hope for those who were in this Walmart when that shooting happened on Tuesday night, just about an hour before the store was supposed to close.

More than 50 people inside when police say that 31-year-old Andre Bing began shooting when he arrived there. They said they got the call at about 10:12 p.m. Within four minutes, they were inside the building. That's where they say they did find the body of the shooter as well as the victims there, many inside that break room where some of the survivors have told us that he came in, didn't say anything, blank- look on his face and just started shooting.

Now, again, one of those survivors who was shot, his mother spoke with one of our CNN affiliates here about his experience in those moments. Take a listen.


ANTOINETTE DELBEL, MOTHER OF GUNSHOT VICTIM JALON JONES: He then noticed his manager was looking kind of different. He just didn't understand what was going on. Everybody kind of thought maybe he was just in a mood or something. But suddenly it changed, it transitioned from the loop to now actually seeing a gun. He got a gunshot wound, grazing his ear.

He knew he was being shot. He made it to the front of the store. And then when he made it to the front store, he was shot again by the same person. And at that moment, that's when he received help from another co-worker that took him outside her vehicle onto the Medic showed up.


GALLAGHER: I do want to recognize those victims, those who did not make it out of this Walmart. Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, Tyneka Johnson, and that 16-year-old police are not releasing his name because he is a minor. Look, we've talked to the survivors. We've talked to employees -- former employees about the shooter. Alex, they say that look, he exhibited odd and sometimes threatening behaviors. They said that he could be condescending, mean. Some people said he's just a loner and a bit odd, a bit strange, and aloof. [14:05:02]

But everyone we've spoken to has said that in no way did they think that this was going to happen and that he was going to ever do anything like this. We have reached out to Walmart to ask them if there were ever any complaints that were registered against Bing and you know what we can learn from that. But, Alex, they have not answered our specific questions. I do want to talk about a tweet that was sent out, mentioned the president addressing this -- the governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin send a tweet out asking people for Thanksgiving to lift up the victims' families in prayer, not just from the mass shooting here in Chesapeake, but also the one in Charlottesville, from not even two weeks ago here. This state reeling from so much violence in such a short amount of time.

MARQUARDT: Yes, that Charlottesville shooting at the University of Virginia is just so tragic. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much for all of your reporting.

Now, to the other major mass shooting in the past week at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The newly released mugshot of the accused gunman shows the severe beating that he took from several heroes on the scene who managed to subdue him. Now, to the people who were targeted, the Colorado Springs police posted their logo next to a rainbow ribbon and they also said "we are thankful for an amazing community who has come together to show love and compassion to so many who are hurting right now. To all of the victims, their families, and their friends, we will continue to stand with you today and into the future."

CNN national correspondent Nick Watt joins us from Colorado Springs. Nick, Club Q as this club is known, that community that went there so often to saw this as a safe space, they are determined to share this holiday, Thanksgiving, together.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alex. Club Q would have a Thanksgiving dinner every year. Of course, this year they can't have it in their club because it's a crime scene. But they do have a table in town to gather around. They will be missing two key members of their family, Daniel Aston and Derrick Rump who are bartenders in the club. And I've been described by people here as the glue that held the small LGBTQ community here together.

You know, how many nightclubs do you know that host a Thanksgiving lunch? Not many. Club Q did. And that, I think speaks to the place that that club had in this community here. It was the hub, and it was attacked and violated. The safe space was invaded by this person with a gun.

Now, the suspect is in the jailhouse behind me, appeared in court yesterday for the first time, and you know, prosecutors here and investigators are still really trying to gather enough evidence for a motive. Listen, it looks very much like hey, if you walk into the only gay club in town and open fire. But prosecutors need to prove that. So, they are gathering evidence. Now, the lawyers for the suspect said that the suspect identifies as non-binary. It was interesting in the court appearance that the judge did not use they-them pronouns. And we spoke with a neighbor and a close friend of the suspect. They lived across the hall, and played video games together. And that young man, Xavier Crist, (PH) we asked about the non-binary status and he said that the suspect had never once brought that up in all the time that they had spent together, but did have some outbursts, some anger coming from a place of rage as Crist told us. Some of them directed at the gay community, use slurs to describe gay people, but also, more often than not, he said that those outbursts of anger were directed at other races. They want to narrow down, get enough evidence so they can charge on December 6 with five counts of first degree0murder and bias crimes, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Still, so many questions, and of course, we hope that that community can find some level of comfort as they manage to gather today for Thanksgiving. Nick Watt in Colorado Springs, thank you so much for all of your reporting.

Now in the wake of these shootings, President Joe Biden vowed this morning to take action against assault weapons. CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz is in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where the president met today with firefighters. Arlette, strong words for -- strong words from the president.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex, President Biden spoke with reporters as he was delivering some pumpkin pies to firefighters at a local fire station. And he once again repeated his commitment and desire to try to ban assault weapons in this country. He said that it's a possibility he could try to approach that during this lame-duck session. But if you also look at the reality of the situation, the votes have not been there in the past, and it's unlikely they will be there heading into a divided Congress next year. But the president also once again voiced his frustration with the purchasing of semi-automatic weapons. Take a listen.


BIDEN: The idea -- the idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It's just sick. It has no, no socially redeeming values, zero, none. Not a single solitary rationale for it except profit with a gun manufacturer.



SAENZ: So, those are marking the president's first comments on camera since that shooting at that Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. And a bit earlier today, the president also called the two owners of Club Q, that LGBTQ nightclub where that deadly massacre accused -- occurred just last weekend out in Colorado Springs. And, of course, that follows that phone call that the president made to Governor Glenn Youngkin down in Virginia, as he has noted that once again, heading into this Thanksgiving, there will be families who have empty seats at their table due to gun violence. MARQUARDT: Yes, and time is ticking before the next Congress. Arlette Saenz with the president in Nantucket, thank you very much.

Now, people are, of course, celebrating Thanksgiving all across the country today. In New York at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Tom The Turkey, you can see right there, kicking things off as he's done since 1973. And a new baby -- a new fan-favorite, Baby Yoda also known as Grogu, delighted the crowds. And if there's one sport that defines Thanksgiving, it is, of course, football. But this year, American football is not the only option. The World Cup is in full swing in Qatar and the storylines have not been disappointing. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has now become the first men's player in history to score in five FIFA World Cups.

Now, back here in the U.S., Elton John is also getting in the holiday spirit. He just wrapped up his final North American concert earlier this week. But he came back one more time for a surprise performance on Fifth Avenue in New York. Take a listen.


ELTON JOHN, SINGER: I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you're in the world.


MARQUARDT: Meanwhile, travelers are with friends and family. The TSA says that it screened about two and a half million passengers just yesterday. That's nearly pre-pandemic levels. Pete Muntean, CNN's aviation correspondent is at Washington Reagan National Airport. Pete, great to see you on solid ground not in traffic as you were all day yesterday, and it seems like so far so good. How are the airlines doing?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: So far so good, indeed, Alex. You know, things are in a bit of a lull that we anticipated after a really busy start to the Thanksgiving travel rush. 2.46 million people screened at airports nationwide just yesterday by the TSA. What is so interesting about that number is this is just shy of a pandemic-era air travel record. In fact, it's only 6 percent off of the same day back in 2019, back before the pandemic. Things have been relatively smooth for travelers and for the airlines mostly aided by good weather. After these major meltdowns have the airlines had in terms of cancellations over the summertime, 50,000 cancellations in total.

Look at the cancellations of just yesterday. We've only had 60 cancellations yesterday, 50 so far today. In fact, on Tuesday, United Airlines says network-wide. That means mainline and smaller regional United Express flights, they canceled zero flights. Let that sink in for a second. Zero flights. 99.9 percent of all flights operated by American Airlines, it says it operated the biggest schedule of any airline in the U.S.

I want you to listen now to the industry's top lobbyist who says that airlines have been on this hiring blitz to try and stem off those meltdowns of the summer that were due, in part, the staffing shortages.


NICK CALIO, CEO, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: We're feeling good, you know, it's a great thing. It's been three years. Everybody wants to get with their family and friends. And we've gotten the airlines have gone above and beyond to try to get ready for that. They've adjusted their schedules. They've been on hiring binges on putting people in the right places that we hope will be at the right time.


MUNTEAN: The right people in the right places, not only at the airlines but also at the federal government. The FAA has hired more air traffic controllers. The TSA is moving some security officers around. We will see the numbers go back up again on Sunday when everybody begins coming home all at once. We could see 2.5 million people screened at airports nationwide, maybe besting the high number that we saw back on July 1, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes, hopefully just as smooth as everyone heads home over the weekend. Pete Muntean at the national airport here in Washington, DC, thank you so much.

Now, millions are facing a very cool and possibly rainy holiday forecast. CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is here. Tom, the South, it looks like getting ready for some soggy weather.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and I think, Alex, it's going to get a little wetter but this is just the beginning.


Can we first just give thanks for the weather for the millions who took planes, trains, and automobiles to get to their destination? It was nearly perfect. We've seen so many Thanksgivings in November, the weather was just been horrible. Even right now, these numbers, 55 in Chicago, nearly perfect in New York for Macy's Day Thanksgiving parade, 51 in St. Louis, Denver 43, but let's talk about where things are going to go downhill.

Now, for several days, you've heard reporters say pack your patience. I want to tell you don't unpack them because depending on when you're going to leave your destination to get back home, we've got problems. Thunderstorms, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin over toward Houston up to Little Rock at toward Paducah, this is just the beginning. We've got snow that starting to develop from southern Colorado, New Mexico, and West Texas. It's going to get a little heavier because already we've got warnings in place for six to eight inches in some locations. Bridges and overpasses are going to become a little slick.

Here's the problem. It's not a one-storm system, it's a one-two punch. So, the rain moves later today into the southeast. And as it stretches you'll see Friday afternoon, first wave, if you've got a flight Friday afternoon, we're going to have some delays in the major cities in the east. The snow kicks up and here comes the second system. Another round, severe weather possible, maybe an isolated tornado, again Dallas Metroplex over toward New Orleans, up toward Memphis and Nashville but the system that drops a heavy amount of rain in the south is going to be moving toward the Tennessee Valley, toward the Ohio Valley.

And here's what we're looking at Alex, this is why I say don't unpack your patients. We've got the possibility of delays from Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Boston, New York. This is Sunday evening. And even slight delays are possible to the south. A secondary system comes into the Pacific Northwest. So, what was a beautiful first, beginning to the Thanksgiving time of travel looks like it could get a little hectic on Sunday. So, keep those patients packed.

MARQUARDT: Now, Tom, after Pete got our hopes up, you bring them crashing down.

SATER: I know. I'm sorry. It can't be perfect every day. Happy Thanksgiving.

MARQUARDT: Well, you're just telling us the facts. Appreciate it. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.


MARQUARDT: Tom Sater in the CNN weather center, I appreciate it.

Now, Ukraine says that their power grid is back online after Russian strikes targeted the country's infrastructure all across Ukraine, but many individual homes are still without electricity. We're live in Ukraine next. And Foxconn, one of the world's biggest iPhone suppliers is offering to pay workers to leave after a violent protest erupted at one of their factories. We'll have those details next as well. Stay with us.



MARQUARDT: Today marks exactly nine months since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine back in February. Some households in Ukraine gradually getting their lights back on just one day after Russia, yet again, sent a wave of missiles all across the country, crippling the Ukrainian power grid. Now, blackouts have hit every part of the country. And for the first time in four decades, all of Ukraine's nuclear power plants have shut down.

In Kyiv, Ukrainian doctors used flashlights and headlamps to perform heart surgery on a child after the -- after the power went out in the middle of the operation. We find our Sam Kiley in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Sam, Russia's targeting seems extremely intentional here.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no question at all of both in terms of independent analysis and the Ukrainian government analysis is that this is the seventh wave of cruise missiles, which are very substantial, very expensive, very sophisticated weapons for Russia to be using on mass attacks on the critical national infrastructure of Ukraine. Particularly, and overwhelmingly on the electrical system because, of course, if you break the electrical system, you can prevent water from being pumped, you can cripple the health services and, of course, ultimately undermine the war effort more widely. So, that is very clearly been the Russian campaign.

They've not been doing so well on the ground, having lost Kherson City and much of the rest of Kherson province, and they're being pushed back of course northeast of Kharkiv as well. So, in that context, this has been a successful campaign really by the Russians, although they are losing, the vast majority of their cruise missiles are being shot down, Alex.

The Ukrainians meanwhile, of course, saying that they desperately, desperately need more modern equipment to bring these missiles down. Because when it's not the cruise missiles, it's those more primitive Iranian-supplied Shahed-136s which are essentially drones that fly very high and slow and zoom in on a target and destroy themselves. And those are sent in even higher numbers, essentially trying to swarm through the -- erase -- the Ukrainian surface-to-air missile defense systems, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And by several accounts, Russia now running low on those precision-guided missiles. Sam Kiley in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, thank you very much.

Now, the United Nations Human Rights Council just passed a resolution highlighting Iran's alleged human rights violations during nationwide protests that have gripped the country for over two months now, 25 countries voting in favor of it during the special session in Geneva today. Iran's representative says that the draft is completely biased and does not reflect the facts and realities of the situation. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called it a full-fledged human rights crisis. Now, anti-government protests largely led by women have consumed Iran since the September death of Mahsa Amini. Amini was a 22-year-old. She died in custody of the so-called morality police who stopped her for not wearing her mandatory hijab.


Now to China where Apple supplier Foxconn is apologizing after newly recruited workers at the largest iPhone factory in the world say that they were not paid as promised. It has led to mass protests and violent clashes. The company has blamed the whole situation on what they call a technical error. CNN's Selina Wang has more on how it all turned violent.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The world's largest iPhone factory located in China has offered to pay new workers $1,400 to quit and leave their jobs.

WANG (voiceover) This is after violent protests broke out at the Foxconn Chengdu plant this week. The video shows some workers taking the package and lining up to leave. While this may temporarily be called the situation, it puts even more pressure on Apple. This is where analysts estimate more than half of the world's iPhones are produced.

We've obtained new footage showing how these protests turn violent. These workers, they're angry about wages, dirty living conditions, chaotic COVID rules. The video show squadrons of riot police arriving. In one video, you can see a group of police and white hazmat suits beating workers with batons and metal rods, other video show workers protesting and tearing down COVID barriers, masses of them throwing metal parts toward police. And Another video shows a group of workers pushing over a police car cheering and chanting. A worker at the scenes of the protest turned into a river of blood with police ruthlessly hitting workers. This chaos at Foxconn has been ongoing for weeks.

Several weeks ago, there was a mass exodus of workers after a COVID outbreak. People literally walking miles across highways to escape what workers said are subpar living conditions and COVID restrictions. To get more workers, Foxconn went on a mass recruitment drive promising higher pay and bonuses. But this worker said when the new workers arrived at the plant, the pay packages they were given were worse than what was advertised and they felt cheated.

WANG Foxconn for its part is blaming the payments issue on a "technical error." Apple also told CNN that its employees were on the ground at the Zhengzhou facility. And in a statement said, "we are reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees' concerns are addressed."

Selina Wang, CNN Beijing.


MARQUARDT: Incredible scenes. Our thanks to Selina Wang for that report.

Now, seven Michigan State football players have now been charged after a fight broke out in a stadium tunnel. We'll have those details next. Stay with us.