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Torrance Police Says Standoff Is Over, Declares Neighborhood As Safe; Interview With Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) About Mass Shooting In Monterey Park; Damar Hamlin Visits Bills Locker Room Ahead Of Playoff Game. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired January 22, 2023 - 18:00   ET



SGT. RON SALARY, TORRANCE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes. I just want to restate again at the request of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and their ongoing investigation, they've requested a third press briefing. It's going to be at the Monterey Park city hall, where they will discuss the incident that happened today earlier in Monterey Park, and its relationship to the incident that happened right here in the city of Torrance, and that will be at 4:30. And you're requested to be at that briefing. We have nothing further at this time. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right. There you have it. Officials there in Torrance, California, not providing a great deal of information to update us on what took place there in Torrance this afternoon, but we understand, from talking to our sources, that law enforcement officers with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department were able to enter a white cargo van earlier this afternoon. That is believed to be connected to the Monterey Park mass shooting that happened last night.

Let me go to Camila Bernal who is on the scene there for us. She was just listening into that press conference.

I guess the one useful thing that was said there, and of course, totally understand that they want to, you know, reassure people in that community that things are safe, and that, I suppose is the purpose of that news conference, which is all well and good. But the useful thing that came out of that news conference is that they did announce there's going to be a separate press briefing later on this evening here on the East Coast, but later in the afternoon for you there on the West Coast.

It sounded as though he said 4:30 in the afternoon, so that's 7:30 East Coast time where L.A. County officials will be -- is that right, Camila -- drawing some sort of connection or at least laying out to the public what took place in Torrance and how it relates to what took place in Monterey Park. What more can you tell us?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Jim. Unfortunately, not a lot of confirmation. Not what we were expecting from Torrance Police. What they're saying is that at the request of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, they are not going to speak out. They will not have those confirmations for us.

The one thing, though, that we did learn is that all of these agencies were connected. That that is how they were able to locate the white van because of the information that they received from the sheriff's office and that is why Torrance Police was able to stop the van. That is the only thing, essentially, that we learned from this press conference. That they did stop this white van, the Torrance Police Department.

Now in terms of how it is connected, that is what they want us to wait and hear from the L.A. County sheriff. That is expected at 4:30 local time. You mentioned 7:30 Eastern Time because we're still waiting for that connection. We have heard from sources that have told CNN that this is connected. That this is, in fact, most likely the suspect in this case. And what we were told is that this white van was stopped and as it was stopped and they were giving that driver directions to get out of the van, there were at least one shot that was heard, and those sources believe that the man inside the van killed himself.

And now we are waiting again for that confirmation from authorities, but that is how we got to this standoff with authorities here. That is how we got to the SWAT team and the helicopters and the many, many agencies that were involved in this massive operation. We were here for hours watching all of this happen, as authorities were telling us, essentially, to wait, because this was such a big operation for them.

So many different agencies and so many members of different law enforcement agencies and of the SWAT team. We watched the drones, we watched as these SWAT vehicles surrounded that white van and eventually were able to enter that white van. Again, it appears that the body is still inside of that van, but we are waiting for confirmation from authorities. And we'll have to wait until 4:30 local time to get some of those answers -- Jim.

ACOSTA: And Camila, I guess they did not say definitively at this press conference, whether or not the person in that van who's deceased is the suspect in the Monterey Park shooting, but they were telling us through our law enforcement sources earlier this afternoon, we were hearing from our law enforcement sources earlier this afternoon that that van is believed to be connected to the Monterey Park has shooting. Is that correct?

BERNAL: That's right. And authorities here were saying that it was thanks to the surveillance cameras, the videos, thanks to the information about the white van and license plates, that's why they were asking authorities or all of us, essentially, to just wait on that 4:30 press conference. But they essentially connected some of the dots a little bit without going further because what Torrance police is saying is that the sheriff's department asked them to wait and have them be the ones to release the information in Monterey Park.


ACOSTA: All right, Camila Bernal, thank you very much.

We want to reset now that we're near the top of the hour. 6:00 here on the East Coast, 3:00 p.m. on the West Coast. Much more on our breaking news right now. As we have been discussing, throughout the afternoon, a tense standoff in Torrance, California, is now over. If you missed this footage from earlier today, it was quite the scene when police tactical units confronted a vehicle believed to be connected to last night's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.

Police, as you can see in this video right here, surveyed the van with an armored vehicle earlier in the afternoon and then officers went up to the vehicle later on in the afternoon, approached the van matching the vehicle subscription, description, and then broke that window and then went inside the vehicle. You can see the footage right here. This happened at about 4:45 this afternoon here on the East Coast, when officers broke that passenger side window and then opened up the side door of that van to search the inside of that vehicle.

And it was at that point when officers discovered somebody slumped over the driver's side steering wheel of that van. Since then, we've seen investigators combing over that scene, trying to determine whether or not there was anything useful inside that van. And as we just heard from Camila Bernal, just a few moments ago, officials have announced another press conference coming up in about 90 minutes from now, scheduled for 90 minutes from now in Monterey Park, California, at the city hall there, near the scene of that mass shooting.

Now, we also want note, police did approach a second van. We did tell you about this earlier this afternoon. They approached a second van a few blocks away from the standoff. Just to clarify all of this, the sheriff's department says they are working to determine if the driver of that white van has anything to do -- or if that van at all has anything to do with the first van that we told you about earlier this afternoon. We're waiting to find out if the driver of that first van is this person. The suspect that L.A. County officials put out earlier this afternoon.

They believe he is responsible for opening fire on a Lunar New Year Celebration, killing 10 people, injuring 10 others, at a dance studio in this predominantly Asian American community, about seven miles outside of Los Angeles.

Let's go now, if we can, to CNN's Natasha Chen. She is in Monterey Park for us, near the scene of that terrible, terrible tragedy.

Natasha, what more are you learning at this hour?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, a lot of people here are waiting for answers. Just like Camila was saying in Torrance, people are waiting for 4:30 when perhaps the sheriff can tell us a little bit more. That would be their third press conference from that location today. In the last one, they were able to give a little bit of stronger language, connecting this shooting with what happened in Alhambra last night, as well.

Let me walk you through some of that. The timeline started at 10:22 p.m. local time. Down the street here, you see that FBI mobile unit. At the end of that block and around the corner is where the business was, this dance studio. And police were called to shots fired. They got to the scene, they saw people pouring out of the business into the parking lot. Saw victims. Then they went into the business and saw gunshot victims there.

There were 10 people pronounced dead on the scene there. When we asked for details about the victims this morning, the sheriff told us five men, five women. He would not give further details about age range or ethnicity because at the time, this morning, they were still trying to identify all of the deceased.

About 20 to 30 minutes later, an incident in Alhambra. The sheriff said that people there described a similar suspect, Asian man, who came there and was armed. There were people at that location who apparently tackled and wrestled with him and took his weapon away from him. The sheriff says law enforcement now has custody of that weapon. Wouldn't give a lot of details about what that weapon was, what type of weapon. He would just say that it wasn't an assault rifle.

So in the beginning, he said that he was trying to investigate, his team was trying to investigate the connection possibly between the two. Later in the afternoon, he said he believes the suspect is the same in these two incidents. And then fast forward, more than 12 hours later, you have this standoff in Torrance. So Torrance is about 30 miles southwest of here in Monterey Park, it's closer to the coast, so this kind of crosses a whole geographical area.

And to keep into context here, this street was going to be closed off here for the Lunar New Year Festival put on by the city of Monterey Park which has since been cancelled. There were a bunch of tents for the vendors that were lined up over there to my left over there.


They were asked to break down as soon as this happened and we're told that the event was canceled. This typically brings in more than 100,000 people per day to these streets. And police at the press conference earlier talked about how they were keeping people safe during this very public event, where they had plainclothes officers, officers in uniform, carrying their weapons, there were drones. Everything was very tightly controlled with barriers.

The police chief said that it was not possible to possibly screen more than 100,000 people walking into these streets. But that people felt very safe. A lot of the officials, including members of Congress, were at this festival just hours before the shots fired at this business, at this dance hall, just down the block from us. So there are lots of public celebrations of Lunar New Year, the biggest holiday of the year for the Asian community.

And as you mentioned, this is a predominantly Asian community here in Monterey Park. The city says that it is about 65 percent Asian, so this is supposed to be a joyous time, Jim. Instead, people are mourning the loss of 10 people today.

ACOSTA: It's just awful. And I was speaking with Congresswoman Judy Chu earlier this afternoon, Natasha, and she was talking about how this was, you know, really a greatly anticipated event because of COVID. There hadn't been a festival for some three years.

CHEN: First one since the pandemic. Right.

ACOSTA: And so everybody was looking forward to getting together.

CHEN: Right.

ACOSTA: And, you know, one of those -- we all go through this. Life's getting back to normal, we finally get to do something, go to a wedding, go to a party, and it just reminds that life is getting back to normal. And that is what this community in Monterey Park was trying to do. And that was all shattered by this gunman. How is the community handling this?

CHEN: You know, one of the local residents mentioned just that point to me. That he was so excited to come out to this festival. There were children, there were elderly folks, and you know, they were so looking forward to this. This is a time to wish each other health and prosperity in the coming year. So there are still so many celebrations throughout the region, throughout the country today. Today is the actual new year. Yesterday was New Year's Eve.

And so the sheriff tried to encourage people earlier as a public statement to say, you know, please, still, continue to do that. It is safe for you to do that. And one person we talked to said, you know, I guess, yes, I will still go, but it's important that these kind of incidents remind people to please be safe and be vigilant when you're out there. Another person spoke to the media this morning, saying that in his 15 years plus, in Monterey Park, he's never seen anything this violent.

And that he supposes you can't avoid such incidents like this, even in safe communities anymore. And he also said that America's gun problem is out of control and that it's best not to go to too many public spaces now. So that's on the minds of these people here, which is, unfortunately, very similar to what so many Americans have thought following incidents of mass shootings like this for far too long -- Jim.

ACOSTA: That's right, Natasha Chen. This is yet another community reeling from yet another mass shooting in this country. These mass shootings happen over and over and over, just shattering one community after another. We cover them far too often on the weekends here on CNN.

Natasha Chen, thanks for that coverage. Appreciate it. We know you'll be looking for this news conference coming up in about an hour and 15 minutes from now. That's when it's scheduled to occur there at the Monterey Park city hall.

Natasha, thanks so much.

Joining us now, Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst, and Charles Ramsey is back with us, CNN senior law enforcement analyst.

Juliette, you've been with us all afternoon. You know, when this press conference comes up at 7:30 -- excuse me, 7:30 here on the East Coast, 4:30 on the West Coast, there's a lot of questions that need to be answered. I mean, first of all, we need to definitively hear from authorities whether or not the deceased individual in the driver's seat of that white cargo van that you're seeing some helicopter footage from KABC earlier this afternoon, whether the driver of that van is indeed the suspect.

I assume we are going to find out when this press conference happens in about 75 minutes from now. We're going to get an answer to that question.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, let's hope so. Because otherwise they're still on a manhunt. So I'm just going to basically assume from the silence, right, they're not still asking for information, they're starting to open up the communities, the streets are starting to open, things are getting back to normal to the extent you can call it that, the day after such a massacre, that they are no longer searching for anyone.

So they will just confirm what you essentially can see or infer from what's going on in the community. I wish it would be sooner, simply because it's not us, the media. It's the community that wants to know that this particular threat is over.



KAYYEM: There's a lot of healing that needs to go on in that community. These press conferences that aren't about that are sort of, I think, taking away a little bit, If I can be honest here because we keep -- we want -- everyone wants closure, not because it means we don't have lessons to learn, we don't still talk about gun violence in this country, but because the victims' families and the community are impacted in a way that many of us won't feel.

This is, as we've been saying all day, the Lunar New Year is a moment that means something to the Asian-American and other communities. It is the beginning, it's a way to define the year, as I'd said earlier. A friend of mine whose honors that day reminded me that the day and the night is to celebrate and set the tone for the year. And that's why they're so celebratory. And to have this happen is just devastating in ways that are greater than the fatality number.

And so we'll wait, we can wait an hour and 15 minutes, but I'm inferring from the silence that we're no longer on a manhunt.

ACOSTA: Exactly right. And to your point about this community, I mean, this is yet another community in the United States that is just going to be dealing with the scars left behind by yet another mass shooting in this country.

Chief Ramsey, this van driver who could be the suspect, believed to be the suspect, according to our law enforcement sources, was stopped about 30 miles away from the mass shooting scene. It's interesting that the Torrance Police Department did offer just a tiny bit of information that Camila Bernal picked up on earlier on this evening. And that is that they did stop this vehicle. And they are the ones who I guess initially encountered this white van that we're looking at right now before the tactical officers went into it hours later and did what they're doing on screen right now.

But how were they able to track down this person in such a densely populated area as Los Angeles County? I assume there's information sharing that goes on and it's quite extensive.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, there is a lot of information sharing that goes on, you know. My understanding is that a tip from the public led them to a white van. They probably used surveillance video from a variety of locations. They may have probably did get a license tag. You know, there are a lot of white cargo vans. That's the most common color of the cargo van. So they probably had a license tag.

They put out a BOLO, be on the lookout, which would go out regionally, and officers heard that and were on the lookout for a white van with a particular tag. That's what I'm assuming happened. And fortunately, they were alert enough to see it, call it in, and take the appropriate steps to stop the van. So, you know, that's something with information sharing, which is critical. There are a lot of avenues to do that.

Obviously, in the old days, you used to call it a flash message, now it's called a BOLO, be on the lookout, but there's a lot of technology that can be applied to try to zero in on individuals. So, fortunately, it worked. I mean, we're very fortunate that they're resolving this as quickly as they were able to. And I would think, at the press conference, we'll find out whether or not the incident in Torrance is related to Monterey Park. I'm pretty sure that it is, but that's when we'll find out for sure.

ACOSTA: Yes. Chief Ramsey, you make an excellent point because as we've been taking off our hats to the SWAT team officers there on the scene who went into this van in such a methodical, textbook type fashion, I mean, you do have to give a tip of the Stetson to those Torrance police officers who were doing their job. And I know as a former police chief, you would be quite proud of officers on patrol, seeing a white van that they were told to be on the lookout for, and spotted the suspect in a densely populated area like Los Angeles County. That is good police work. There's just no question about it.

Chief Ramsey, Juliette Kayyem, stand by. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. More information on the other side. Stay with us.



ACOSTA: Back with us now, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey.

I guess, Juliette, let me go to you first. The fact that law enforcement says the standoff is over, the neighborhood is safe, they're confident, as you were saying before we went to the break, that they have their man or they appear to have their man at this point.


ACOSTA: What is next, though, in terms of reassuring this community, particularly in Monterey Park? I mean, I just -- it's unbelievable how we have yet another community grappling with this.

KAYYEM: Right, and even if the motivation of the killer is not hate in the legal way we mean it in terms of a hate crime, remember, the community perceives it that way. I mean, of course there was a hate there, and also because of its disruption in terms of what this day and these events mean for the community.

We've been talking about COVID, about how COVID had closed up that community and obviously had also in many ways because of the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, had also isolated that community. So the two pieces to what happens now is one is the law enforcement outreach. Because there's still an investigation. Were there others involved? What in fact was the motivation? What was happening in these other areas?

So it's going to take a lot of outreach, you're seeing it already by the sheriff and others to the community, strong ties between law enforcement and members of that community and their leadership.


The second, of course is just the community itself. And I've seen this unfortunately across many places is it's going to take a long time. It's a community that's going to have to heal in the ways that they will figure out over time. It's nothing that government can deliver. It can deliver particular services like mental health services, but it just takes time and it may include some activism about guns and about hate and about violence in this country. We've seen that in other areas.

So that's what it will look like in the days and months to come. And that's why we do see closure, because that's the next part. I mean, obviously, there'll be funerals and memorials as we head into this week, but after that, this is a community that has a long road ahead.

ACOSTA: And Chief Ramsey, you know, earlier this afternoon, we did see what appeared to be perhaps officials with the coroner's office there in L.A. County, other homicide detectives, that sort of thing. They were coming in after the tactical officers, I guess, had finished up their business. What is next in this investigation? Because from what I can tell here on the desk and of course I'm not there on the ground in California, it did not look as though those investigators were on the scene around that van for very long. So that might suggest that they got the information that they needed pretty quickly.

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, I assume those were homicide investigators that were there. But again, the coroner will come. They will verify the identity of the individual, either through fingerprints identification and maybe on the individual. They still have to go through the van, search, see whether or not they can find anything of evidentiary value there. Obviously, now, they are looking to try to determine a motive.

They may or may not have that information at this next press conference. If they do, then perhaps they will reveal what that is. But the investigation has just moved into another phase now. I mean, you have the tactical part of it, which is what we watched earlier today with the SWAT teams securing the van and so forth, but now you have the investigators taking over forensic examination of everything inside the vehicle. I mean, those kinds of things taking place.

I don't know if this person had a home. If so, they'll be executing warrants to see what they can find there. Looking at that van, it looks like the person was living in that van for at least, you know, for a period of time, anyway. But there's a lot of information now that is going to be coming out, I think, over the next day or two, about this particular case.

You know, you asked earlier about, how do you reassure the public. I don't know how you do it anywhere, to be honest with you. These mass shootings keep happening over and over and over again. And it's going to happen again. It's just a question of which community is going to be impacted. So there's only so much you can do to reassure the public. You know, you have these large events that take place. There are vulnerabilities that are there.

It's just an unfortunate reality of what the world we're in today. And so we do the best you can to try to reassure people, but quite frankly, it's not just Monterey Park. You know, it's everywhere.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And we've been focusing on California because of this breaking news situation with the standoff in Torrance. But we should note to our viewers, there was a mass shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this weekend, too. Multiple people shot there. And so, as you said, Chief Ramsey, we are dealing with this over and over again.

Chief Ramsey, Juliette Kayyem, thanks so much.

We're going to take a quick break. More on all of this breaking news coverage, of course in Monterey Park, California, in about an hour from now. We should note, this is a scheduled news conference, not sure it's going to happen on time, but an hour from now, we're expecting law enforcement officials in Monterey Park at the city hall to hold a news conference to update the press, update the public on the latest in this unfolding investigation.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: The latest now on our breaking news out of California. Right now we are still waiting to hear from law enforcement officials about a white van that sparked an intense standoff in the city of Torrance about 30 miles from the site of last night's Monterey Park mass shooting. A short time ago, a tactical team broke into the van and found a person slumped over. It is not clear if that person is the suspect authorities believe is responsible for the mass shooting inside a dance studio. That suspect is described as an adult male Asian.

The rampage happened nearly Monterey Park where the city there was holding its Lunar New Year celebrations. Earlier, I spoke with California Congresswoman Judy Chu. Her district includes Monterey Park and I asked her about the mass shooting and the timing of it. Take a listen.


REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): People are still stunned and shocked by hearing about the deaths of 10 people and the injuries to 10 more. As you said, this was supposed to be the most joyous time. People were really looking forward to these Lunar New Year festivals after being cooped for three years due to COVID. And this was the return of this festival, only hours earlier, and one block away, we actually had the grand opening of the Lunar New Year Festival.


I was there along with many other elected officials. And there were thousands that were surrounding us and walking the street. So to have this happen at this time is just so horrific and heartbreaking.

ACOSTA: And what is your reaction to the scene that we've been witnessing over the last hour or so, hour and a half, where L.A. County sheriff's officers appear to have neutralized this white van or they have neutralized this white cargo van in Torrance, California, which I guess is about, we're told, about 30 miles away from where you are. And perhaps we don't know 100 percent for sure just yet, may have, I guess, come upon the suspect and that person may now be dead.

We don't know that for sure, but they appear to be moving in the direction of resolving this situation, at least from getting to a suspect at this point. What's your reaction to all of this? And what do you know? If you have more information, please share it with us.

CHU: Well, I certainly hope that this is, indeed, the shooter. It appears that the person inside the white cargo van is dead and certainly we heard from the people at the Last Dance Studio that he drove away in this white cargo van. So all the points about what we've seen seem to be adding up to this being the shooter.

That would provide so much relief to our community, I'll tell you that, because there was so much fear and anxiety about an active shooter being out in our community, especially during this time when people usually are out and about for Lunar New Year. So people were very fearful about such fundamental things as sending their kids to school or just going to a business. And if, indeed, this is that person, the suspect, then I think at least those fears will be allayed.

ACOSTA: And Congresswoman, I mean, this has happened so many times. We cover them often on the weekends here at CNN because they happen so often on the weekends. Another mass shooting in this country. Another community shattered by this kind of mass gun violence in the United States. What is your response to that? What are your thoughts in terms of what needs to be done, so we don't keep having this happen over and over again? It just -- it's an epidemic that appears to have no end in sight.

CHU: Well, I have been concerned about this since these mass shootings started with Sandy Hook and the Pulse Nightclub. I joined the Gun Safety Caucus in Congress, and we have been pushing legislation that I know will make this country safer. We do have universal background checks, but there are loopholes. And those loopholes are that you don't have to have the background check if you buy your gun at a gun show or through a personal sale or online.

So those loopholes have to be closed because we do know that universal background checks indeed has saved lives. That is a very, very commonsense way to decrease the access to guns to those who should not have it.

ACOSTA: All right. Congresswoman Judy Chu, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. Our hearts go out to your community right now. We know people are hurting there and let's hope that we get some answers here in the coming hours. Thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

CHU: Thank you.


ACOSTA: More on our breaking news coming up. Plus, an update on the Buffalo Bills and player Damar Hamlin. He was there on scene. What we know about his emotional locker room visit today and how the team did in their rematch against the Cincinnati Bengals just weeks after his cardiac arrest. That's next.



ACOSTA: The Buffalo Bills just lost their playoff matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, but there's still celebrating after a milestone visit from Damar Hamlin. Hamlin visited his teammates in the locker room at Highmark Park -- excuse me, Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, earlier today and then stayed to watch the game. This is Hamlin's first public appearance since his on-field collapse three weeks ago, after suffering a cardiac arrest during the game.

CNN's Coy Wire joins us with all the details.

Coy, you know, we thought, you know, the Bills were on a run there and I thought Damar Hamlin was going to give them, you know, the juice to take it all the way to the Super Bowl. It just didn't work out that way, but it was amazing to see him back with his team.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: That's a great point, Jim. And one to definitely focus on. This was supposed to be the penultimate game before a rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs from last season's playoffs and a continuation of this Hollywood script of a story we've seen. Damar Hamlin making, as you said, his first appearance in front of fans since suffering cardiac arrest on the field when these two teams played each other 20 days ago.

Hamlin was in the locker room before the game, but also then in a box with his family during the game, even showing the jumbotron his heart hands which has become this symbol of spreading love, Jim. A remarkable feat. A big moment knowing that he's well enough in his recovery to be there from that near fatal event.

But when it came to the game, Jim, the Bills just looked emotionally exhausted, spiritually spent. The psychological rollercoaster over the last three weeks seemingly just siphoning their internal tank. And that internal depletion, Jim, manifested in the physical defense, looked drained, missing tackles, mental errors, leaving receivers wide open.


Two stars, corner Tre'Davious White, safety Jordan Poyer, they both left the game with head injuries, leaving an already-depleted defensive backfield barely hanging on as the Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow just -- they plowed through the snow. Bills defense gave us a season high 30 first downs. And the Bills offense never got clicking either, Jim. Giving up sacks. Josh Allen trying to throw in the snow just wasn't happening. Bengals held them a season low 10 points, 27- 10. Bengals win in the final.

And afterwards, you know, Jim, I saw one young fan crying his eyes out. He told me that he just loves this team so much. Bills' legends like Darryl Talley, just head in their hands, sick from this defeat because it has been such an incredibly emotional and positive story that has become, and it still is. Damar Hamlin's health and the way he's rallied the sports world around him, raising nearly $9 million for his charity to help kids.

Lots of positive to be taken from this, but now the Bengals will go on to the AFC Championship Game to face the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. And we also know in the NFC title game, Jim, we're going to see the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the winner of the 49ers and Cowboys game, which is still going on tonight.


WIRE: So soon there will be just four remaining before the trip to the Super Bowl.

ACOSTA: Yes, it's too bad the Bills won't win the Super Bowl this year, but Damar Hamlin, he has been such an inspiration. Maybe we can send Damar to the Super Bowl, let him flip the coin or something at the opening of the game, something like that. I mean, he has just been terrific in his comeback and inspiring that city.

Look at this video, the snow coming down in Orchard Park, and just that entire stadium going wild, as he's pumping up the crowd there. Wow. What a moment.

Coy Wire, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

And we'll have more on our breaking news coming out of California next. Stay with us. Much more to tell you about, all of that in the coming hours. Stand by. We'll have more in just a few moments.



ACOSTA: More on our breaking news out of California. The "Los Angeles Times" is reporting that the driver of a white van that was stopped and breached by police earlier today is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. SWAT teams had surrounded the van in the city of Torrance earlier today. The hours long standoff was tied to last night's mass shooting in Monterey Park that left 10 people dead. Police are expected to say more at a press conference in Monterey Park soon.

As we wait for more information coming out of California, we also want to tell you about what police are calling a targeted attack on a nightclub in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A dozen people were shot overnight at the Dior Bar and Lounge. Police say the quick response of three uniformed officers who were outside the club as paid security prevented further injury. Investigators believe a security breach allowed the suspect or suspects to bring guns inside the club. The motive is not yet clear and police do not yet have a suspect in custody at this hour.

Our breaking news coverage continues. We'll go live to the scene of the mass shooting in Monterey Park next. Stay with us.



ACOSTA: In about half an hour from now, we're expecting to hear from Los Angeles Sheriff's Department officials with another update on the investigation into the Monterey Park mass shooting. The "L.A. Times" is reporting that the person found slumped over in a white van in Torrance, California, is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The van was believed to be tied to the shooting and was at the center of an intense standoff that got resolved earlier today.

It is not clear if that person who died is the suspect authorities believe is responsible for the Monterey Park shooting. We're waiting for information from law enforcement officials on that.

Joining us now is CNN's Natasha Chen.

Natasha, I know you'll be following this press conference just coming up in Monterey Park in about 30 minutes from now. You've been providing us with live reports all day long. What more are you hearing from the community there? CHEN: Jim, we don't want to lose sight of the fact that there are

people mourning the loss of loved ones right now and that there are still people injured who are in local hospitals. In fact, I spoke with a friend of someone who was at this party last night. This person is still looking for that friend and so this just goes to show that there are people perhaps to their family and friends still missing and unable to be located.

So that's got to be just the most horrible feeling that these people went to a celebration to have a good time for, you know, the biggest holiday of the year for them and that they did not come home. So a lot of people still searching for answers. The very basic answers for some people of where is my friend? Where is my relative? Where is my loved one? And then of course, the bigger questions of why this happened.

And so if we're just looking behind us here, that scene that you see behind us, the FBI mobile unit, that's near where the business was. This happened shortly after 10:00 p.m. local time and the sheriff did mention there was a second incident where they believed the suspect is the same person, went to an Alhambra dance studio where people there tackled and wrestled with him and took over his weapon. The sheriff would only say that it was not an assault rifle.

So a lot of questions that not only we but also the victim's families and friends have that hopefully the law enforcement can help answer at the coming press conference -- Jim.

ACOSTA: And the community there is just suffering immensely, Natasha. I mean, have you talked to people on the ground? What do they do after this? Where do they go from here?

CHEN: I think it's a sense of being completely stunned because there are people who described to me having lived here for decades. They consider this to be a very safe community, extremely diverse. They have friends and neighbors from all over the world and of course this predominantly Asian community ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year. And so obviously today's festivities were cancelled and they were very hesitant, telling me whether they would continue to go out and celebrate today -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Natasha Chen, thank you very much.

A press conference coming up in about half an hour from now. Lots of questions to answer.