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Sheriff: Monterey Park Shooting Suspect Dead; Millions Celebrate Holiday in China Despite COVID Fears; Nations Learning Military Lessons from War in Ukraine; Volunteers Bring Aid, Help Frontline Communities Evacuate in Ukraine; Netanyahu Dismisses Key Ally after Massive Protests; Peru: Protestors Demand Release of People Detained at University; U.N.: Millions Face Starvation Amid Freezing Temperatures in Afghanistan; Lisa Marie Presley's Memorial Held at Graceland. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired January 23, 2023 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. Coming to you live from Studio 7 at the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company. Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see this happen in this place is shattering.


HOLMES: A California community left reeling after a gunman opens fire inside a dance studio, leaving nearly a dozen people dead.

And, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a surprise visit to Kyiv, where he joined the chorus of voices calling for Western tanks to be sent to Ukraine.





HOLMES: An emotional farewell to Elvis Presley's only child. Family, friends, and fans coming together to pay tribute to Lisa Marie Presley.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: And we begin the program in Southern California, where police say the suspect in the deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park is now dead. The Los Angeles county sheriff says the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and was found inside a cargo van after a standoff with police.

He's been identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. Police accused him of opening fire at a dance studio on Saturday night, killing ten people and injuring ten others amid Lunar New Year celebrations.

The sheriff says Tran went to another gathering in nearby Alhambra, where two people wrestled the gun away from him. It was that seized weapon that allowed police to identify him.


SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LOS ANELES COUNTY: I can tell you that the suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people, and two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him. They did so, took possession of the weapon, and the suspect ran away.


HOLMES: The sheriff says the investigation is, of course, ongoing as police work to determine a motive for the tragic event.

CNN's Natasha Chen with more from Monterey Park.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On Sunday evening, on Lunar New Year, when this community was supposed to be celebrating, law enforcement gave a press conference confirming that a man they had cornered in a white van in Torrance, California, was in fact, the shooter of this Monterey Park scene, just a couple of blocks away from us where, on Saturday night, he opened fire, police said, killing ten people.

And almost 24 hours later, still seven people are in the hospital.

Now, we understand that the ages of the victims range in the 50s, 60s, and beyond. The coroner's office began to take away remains on Sunday afternoon, and they're still in the process of identifying the people who died.

Now, it took about 12 hours for police to find this person in Torrance, about 30 miles Southwest of Monterey Park. This after police say that he had gone from this dance hall in Monterey Park to a different one in Alhambra, a city North of where we are.

That's where law enforcement says that a person matching the same suspect description went in armed, and that a couple of people actually wrestled with him, tackled him, and was able -- they were able to recover the weapon that he had. And that's how police were able to also recover that weapon, and begin to trace who this person might be.

Now this community is still reeling and stunned after this mass shooting happened just after the first day of the city of Monterey Park's huge Lunar New Year festival that had more than 100,000 people on these streets.

And, many of the people speaking at the press conference, local leaders, were at those festivities just a couple of hours before this tragedy. They have reassured the community that they are now safe, that the person that police say died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police cornered him in Torrance, that person is no longer with us, as they put it, and that there is no longer a threat to the community.

And, this is, indeed, a huge blow to a predominantly Asian community, in Monterey Park here, again, about to celebrate the Lunar New Year, supposedly a time for joy, for health and prosperity; instead, having to mourn the loss of their neighbors and loved ones.


Natasha Chen, CNN, Monterey Park, California.


HOLMES: Major cities across the U.S. have now boosted security ahead of their Lunar New Year celebrations, following that shooting in Monterey Park.

In New York City, police ramped up their security presence at events out of an abundance of caution. Police in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., also increasing patrols.

Now in China, concerns about COVID haven't stopped millions from welcoming the Year of the Rabbit with widespread celebration. Millions of trips have been recorded as residents travel to see family for the Lunar New Year.

In fact, state media report more than 27 million trips were recorded on Saturday alone.

But there are fears all that traveling could aid the spread of COVID. Chinese officials now reporting more than 12,000 new COVID-related deaths in the week just before the new year.

Despite those fears, many residents remain optimistic. Those who gathered at this temple in Beijing prayed for good fortune and health in the new year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): Everybody's finance or life has been greatly affected by these three years of pandemic. Now that this has gone, I think we can say the spring festival has epoch-making (ph) significance. Having been through the pandemic, now everybody appreciates life even more, and this is the starting point of our hopes for the future. These are my thoughts.


HOLMES: CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins me now, live from Hong Kong with more.

And Ivan, I guess before the pandemic, the spring festival in China was described as the world's largest annual human migration. Is it living up to those expectations?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to some of the first statistics that we're seeing coming out from Chinese authorities, it hasn't quite reached that kind of peak amount of people on the move as in 2019 before the pandemic.

But certainly, as you can hear from that -- that woman speaking there in Beijing, there is a sense of euphoria after the years of lockdowns and quarantines, where travel even between provinces was restricted and required quarantines.

There is a sense of euphoria, of the chance to see parents, to see loved ones for this biggest holiday of the year, for the first time, potentially, in years.

So the numbers are substantial, where you mentioned 26 million people on the move on Saturday, the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday, most of them on the roads, but also millions of people traveling by train. More than 4 million. And then, hundreds of thousands, 756,000 traveling by air.

And there are estimates that throughout the 40-year ]SIC] -- 40-day, rather, spring festival, the ministry of transport in China is predicting that there could be some two billion passengers who will have been on the move.

That said, again, the numbers of people in this first day, Saturday, about half of what it was in 2019. But then let me add, 50 percent more than it was on that same day in 2022.

So it does give you a sense of Chinese people being able to start living their lives again for the first time, really, as the pandemic restrictions are being lifted.

HOLMES: Absolutely. And going back to what we mentioned before, what sort of impact could this have on the ongoing COVID outbreak across China? Of course, a lot of these people are traveling in places with less than stellar health infrastructure.

WATSON: Sure. I mean, if you're traveling from the big cities in the East to the countryside, it is a fact that the healthcare system is not as developed there. And so that's one of the concerns.

And, I might add that these big cities have been hit hard, and the death toll has been going up, as well. Initially, after very much under-representing the number of people who had died in hospital from COVID during the first month, kind of December into the beginning of January, officially only about 40 people had died.

Suddenly, about a week and a half ago, the Chinese government said, actually, the number is more like 60,000 people who had died from December 8 to January 12 in hospital, I might add. And, over the weekend, the Center for Disease Control in China said

that an additional 12,600 people have died in hospitals of COVID over the course of the week from January 13 to January 19.

That said, a chief epidemiologist with the Chinese CDC, he is predicting that there will not be another spike of infections in the next two to three months, and also adding that he believes that some 80 percent of the world's most populous country has gotten COVID over the course of the past month and a half.


So sounding some optimism there, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens, again, as these millions of people are on the move. What will happen, potentially, as the virus continues to circulate in less well-developed parts of the country?

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, appreciate the wrap-up there, Ivan. Ivan Watson in Hong Kong for us.

Now in the coming hours, foreign ministers from the E.U. will meet to discuss the war in Ukraine and their support for the country. This coming as Ukrainian officials continue to urge the West to provide them with the German-made Leopard 2 tanks, which Poland has already actually offered up.

And on Sunday, Germany's foreign minister said her government would not stand in the way if Poland wants to supply them. But so far, Berlin has been hesitant to supply thanks from its own arsenal.

At a summit in Paris, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said all decisions on weapons delivery would be made in coordination with allies.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We have constantly expanded our supply, with very effective weapons that are already available today. And we have always closely coordinated all these decisions with all our important allies and friends. With France, for example; with the USA, for example; with other countries in Europe. And of course, with all those who are involved in this discussion.


HOLMES: At the same summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country hasn't ruled out supplying its own Leclerc tanks to Ukraine, but he said the delivery must not escalate the situation. It shouldn't [SIC] -- it should include enough training for Ukrainians, and must not weaken France's own defense.

Now even as Ukraine continues urging allies to send heavy tanks and other modern equipment, the front lines of Russia's war have already turned into a testing ground of sorts for Western weapons and tactics, giving nations around the world an opportunity to study how systems perform under real-world conditions.

Joining me now, Seth Jones is the director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a good person to talk to on all of this.

So just how closely have other nations been watching this war, purely in terms of learning lessons for future wars that they might fight, to see how they might have to adapt weaponry and tactics?

SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's a great question, Michael. I've talken [SIC] -- I've talked recently to senior officials in Europe and in the Pacific, from countries like Australia, Japan, South Korea, Finland and the Baltic states.

What they have repeatedly told me is this is an incredible case study for how to conduct war fighting in an industrial-style war. So they've looked at the use of drones. They've looked at how to do logistics, get spare parts or spare munitions or petroleum, oil lubricants, into vehicles in a contested environment.

They've looked at long-range fires and the need for precision munitions.

So you know, interesting talking to senior officials in and around Taiwan, too. It's a slightly different scenario, a different geographic area, but huge lessons there in all these issues.

HOLMES: Yes, and without getting into the weeds, I guess, but what weapons have stood out as a big, and perhaps surprising success, and what perhaps haven't performed as well as some might have expected?

JONES: Well, I think there are two types on the surprising side. One for me has been air defense. After watching the Russians perform admirably in Syria, the Ukrainian S-300s, the Stingers, the Nasans (ph), the Hawks, have made it virtually impossible for the Russians to fly aircraft in Ukraine, which is an extraordinary difficult situation for them.

The other, which we can get into more detail, as well, is the drones. And, not just for strike or intelligence collection, but also for information operations, electronic warfare, targeting for other systems to conduct strikes. It's what we call combined arms.

And then all the stuff that hasn't worked well. Cyber, we expected the Russians to be much more effective on the cyber side. They -- they have not been.

HOLMES: Yes. It's interesting with drones. I mean, as you say, they're being used on an offensive way, an observational way. But also, we've seen all those videos of grenades being dropped literally on top of Russians in their bunkers by drones.

I guess it's not just weapons performance on display, but tactics, as well. What lessons might have been learned so far? Certainly, one example: Ukraine trusts commanders down the chain on the ground to make decisions and act independently. The Russians do not.

JONES: Right. One of the things we've seen is, much like the U.S. military, which has non-commissioned officers, the Ukrainians in many of their units do. The Russians don't.


And one of the challenges posed for the Russians is that we don't see as much initiative at lower levels of the Russian military, which has meant that we've seen generals having to move closely to the front lines. And we've seen large numbers of those general officers -- Russian -- killed because they are trying to command so close to the front lines.

So those non-commissioned officers and the lack of -- of initiative we've seen, lack of non-commissioned officers, lack of initiative with the Russians has been a real debilitating part of their ineffectiveness on the battlefield.

HOLMES: Yes, and also, I guess, Ukraine's effective use of dismounted infantry, as well, which caught the Russians off-guard early on.

And I guess to the point you're making, Russia's military was, you know, by and large, always taken seriously until this war, feared by many.

But has the war sort of laid bare its weak spots and its failings? I remember when I was in Ukraine. A government said Russia is not only the second best army in Ukraine -- in the world, they're not the second best army in Ukraine.

JONES: Well, you know, what's interesting, Michael? I've talked to senior intelligence officials from the United States, from the U.K., from Australia among others, all of whose agencies generally assessed that the Russians had pretty good capabilities -- artillery, aircraft, long-range missiles -- and they had reasonable doctrine to fight a war like this.

But the challenge we see is that it's hard to transition to the qualitative parts that aren't as easy to measure: morale of forces, command and control, initiative, readiness, ability to fight in combined arms.

And so there was a lot of overstatement of how the Russians would translate their capabilities into actions on the ground, and at the same time, an under-appreciation for a Ukrainian army that was much less well-equipped, but how they were actually better on those qualitative components.

HOLMES: Yes, it's a fascinating subject, and great that we're able to tap into your expertise. Seth Jones, thanks so much.

JONES: Thank you very much, Michael.

HOLMES: Former British Boris Johnson was in Ukraine on Sunday, pledging Britain would stand by the embattled nation, quote, "as long as it takes."

Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. He also spoke at a university, reiterated Ukraine's need for tanks, and said the country should, quote, "seek its destiny in NATO."

Earlier in the day, Johnson visited Bucha and laid flowers at a mass grave site. He also visited Borodyanka. An official told him that 162 residents were killed during the month-long Russian occupation, and only about 60 percent of its residents have returned.

Nearly 11 months into the war in Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official in the East says the armed forces are in control of current positions but moving forward is very difficult, because the Russians have brought up substantial reserves.

Ukrainian forces have been trying to advance on the city of Kreminna in the Luhansk region, in the hopes of regaining the Russian-held cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports from Eastern Ukraine on a group of volunteers trying to help civilians near the front lines.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Down a well-trodden path, Anatoly (ph) heads toward home, perhaps for the last time.

Sasha (ph), a travel agent turned volunteer, will help him collect what he can for the journey to Kyiv. It's time to be family.

"I want to see my grandchildren. I have four," Anatoly (ph) says, "and my son just got drafted."

Neighbors will look after his chickens, goats, and dog. "That's all," he says. "Let's go, guys. They'll start shelling now."

He's leaving with a group of young Ukrainians who deliver food and supplies to soldiers, frontline communities, and evacuate those who want to leave.

They've had close calls. Plenty. Says Sasha (ph), "In Bakhmut, cluster bombs fell all around us. We ducked. God protected us."

A year ago, Oleksandr managed a car parts store.

OLEKSANDR VETROV, UKRAINIAN VOLUNTEER: And when the war started, since February 2022, we come together and take one bus and together some foods, some stuff. And make our visits to hot points.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): And hot these points are. They venture through villages still under fire, ravaged by months of shelling.


They've come to this village looking for people. They heard reports that 27 were still here. So far, though, they haven't found any.

Finally, they find a door marked "people." People have been hiding there, in a shelter.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): The volunteers quickly get to work, no time to waste.

"We're always in the basement," says Svetlana (ph). "We go there as soon as they start shelling, especially in the last days. It's very, very hard."

Oha (ph) owned a cafe near Kyiv but left it to be here. She prefers to keep her mother in the dark.

"I don't always tell her where I go, because she's worried for my life," she says. "But we go anyway."

In another village, they're evacuating Stepan (ph), who's suffering from frostbite, or so he believes. He hasn't seen a doctor.

"I was putting up with the pain, but now it hurts when I walk. and I can't get any treatment here," he says. "There are no doctors, no hospitals. So I asked my daughter in Holland (ph) to help me."

In the evening, his daughter, Navia (ph), meets him outside a hospital in nearby Sloviansk. Her relief says it all.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


HOLMES: One day after massive protests across Israel, a key ally of the prime minister is out of the cabinet. We'll have the latest on that and the growing anti-government demonstrations there.

Also, many Afghans enduring a brutal winter and economic hardship facing a difficult choice: food or warmth. We'll look at a crisis that's putting millions at risk.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Israel's prime minister has dismissed a key ally, Aryeh Deri, from all ministerial posts. Deri's Shas Party is a key component of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.

But last week Israel's high court ruled that Deri's appointment cannot stand, due to his past criminal convictions, and his promise to retire from public life.

The dismissal on Sunday came a day after the largest turnout so far in three weeks of protests against Mr. Netanyahu's government and planned judicial changes. More than 100,000 people rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday, thousands more in other Israeli cities.

CNN's Hadas Gold with more from Jerusalem.



HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Benjamin Netanyahu isn't even one month into his new term as Israeli prime minister, and he will already have an empty minister's chair at his next cabinet meeting.

Forced to fire Aryeh Deri after a bombshell Supreme Court ruling last week said Deri could not serve as minister because of his previous criminal convictions and his declaration to the court last year that he would not return to public office.

Putting off the dismissal for days, Netanyahu ultimately told Deri he was doing so with a heavy heart and would find a legal way to get him back in the government. Needing to carefully maintain the alliance with Deri, whose 11 parliamentary seats Netanyahu needs to stay in power.

Deri's dismissal amplifying an already heated debate in Israel over Netanyahu's proposed judicial reforms that would give the Parliament power to overturn Supreme Court decisions, prompting more than 100,000 people to flood the streets once again in protest on Saturday, the third week in a row tens of thousands have come out to decry what they see as a destruction of Israel's independent judiciary, claiming these reforms will help Netanyahu get out of his own ongoing corruption trial. A charge Netanyahu denies.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will complete the reform legislation in a way that will fix what needs fixing, we will fully protect individual rights and will restore the public's trust in the justice system, which needs this reform so much.


GOLD (voice-over): But the protesters are gaining momentum, and numbers, as opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yair Lapid joined them in the streets.

YAIR LAPID, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): What you see here today is a demonstration in support of the country. This is a demonstration for the country. People who love the country have come here today to defend its democracy, to defend its courts, to defend the idea of coexistence, and of common good.

There are people here who love Israel, who came to demonstrate for a democratic Jewish state, according to the values of the Declaration of Independence, and we will not give up until we win.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): With hopes these protests turn into an ongoing public pressure campaign Netanyahu won't be able to ignore. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


HOLMES: U.S. President Joe Biden has picked a replacement for his outgoing chief of staff, Ron Klain. Sources tell CNN Jeff Zients is expected to fill the role. He's been described as a master implementer.

And we're told that Kane [SIC] -- Klain favors him as his successor.

Zients ran Mr. Biden's COVID-19 response effort and also served in the Obama administration. Klain is expected to step down in the coming weeks, but a source says he will continue to be involved and remain close to the West Wing.

New Zealand will have a new prime minister in just a few days, if all goes according to plan. The country's Labour Party has unanimously endorsed education minister Chris Hipkins to fill the role.

He says he expects to be sworn in on Wednesday.

Hipkins was the only nominee for prime minister and Labour Party leader, making Sunday's confirmation merely a formality.

Jacinda Ardern announced her surprise resignation last week, citing exhaustion. She still needs to notify New Zealand's governor general to make it official.

More protests have erupted in Peru's capital. Ahead, why demonstrators rallied outside the police headquarters in Lima, and how authorities responded. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Authorities in the Peruvian capital used tear gas to quell a protest outside the police headquarters over the weekend. Demonstrators were demanding the release of more than 100 people detained on Saturday that were accused of illegally occupying a university. Their actions part of a broader campaign of anti- government protests that have gone on for weeks.

CNN's Rafael Romo with more on the unrest.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has been yet another week of turmoil in Peru.

ROMO (voice-over): Nearly 200 protesters were arrested on Saturday at a university campus in Lima, the capital, that they have taken over in the last few days.

Those arrested at the National University of San Marcos could now face charges related to occupying the facilities, according to Peruvian interior minister, Vicente Romero.

This is one of the latest cases of unrest that has gripped Peru over the last several weeks. A new wave of violent protests forced authorities Saturday to close the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, one of Peru's main tourist attractions.

A railway track was damaged there, leaving more than 400 tourists stranded. The rail service was suspended briefly in December for a similar reason.

Later on Saturday, Peru's foreign trade and tourism minister, Luis Fernando Helguero, said in a statement, all of the stranded tourists had been evacuated. Among those evacuated, he said there were 250 domestic tourists and 148 foreigners.

ROMO: The statement also said that Cusco International Airport, which is used as a connecting point by many international travelers, had reopened after being closed on Friday.

Flights were temporarily suspended Thursday from the International Airport in Arequipa, Peru's second largest city, after protesters tried to storm it.

ROMO (voice-over): So far, more than 50 people have died since protests began in early December. And more than 1,200 have been injured, according to Peruvian ombudsman's office.

Protesters want new elections, the resignation of current president Dina Boluarte, a new constitution, and the release of former President Pedro Castillo, who's currently in pretrial detention.

Castillo is accused of rebellion and conspiracy after trying to dissolve Congress and charges he denies. He was ousted by impeachment on December 7.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: At least five people have reportedly been killed in Somalia's capital after gunmen from the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab attacked a government building early on Sunday.




HOLMES: Security forces killed six of the attackers during the siege. That's according to state media. This all coming just two days after the U.S. carried out a strike in

Somalia that killed about 30 al-Shabaab fighters North of Mogadishu. U.S. forces have conducted numerous strikes on the terror group in that region in recent months.

Millions of Afghans already on the brink of starvation and economic hardship are struggling to survive through this winter's brutal freezing temperatures, according to the United Nations.

And critics say the Taliban's return to power in 2021 has helped fuel the crisis.


HOLMES (voice-over): Arctic conditions, heavy snowfall, and freezing temperatures in Afghanistan have killed at least 78 people in the last few days, according to Taliban officials.

CNN not able to independently verify that number.

Thousands of livestock reportedly froze to death, according to the U.N. Temperatures plunged to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius, this as millions of people in Afghanistan face starvation, according to the U.N.

To eat or stay warm, that is the choice many Afghan families are forced to make according to the International Red Cross. However, most Afghans struggle to afford either.


Almost 20 million people in Afghanistan suffer from hunger, the U.N. says, with 4 million children and women facing acute malnutrition.

Aid groups are attempting to provide help, but since December, at least half a dozen major foreign aid groups have temporarily suspended their operations in Afghanistan, after the Taliban banned women from working for NGOs.

Women aid workers are essential to reaching other women and children in a household in Afghanistan, and providing them with services like food and warmth to survive the winter.

But the Taliban's decision has halted time-critical support for Afghans this winter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we are trying, you know, to cover this gap, but it has affected our -- you know, operations. In many cases, we need female staff, you know, especially when it comes to serving families that they are women-run. So for that, we need female staff. And also there are some other cases that the presence of the woman is a must.

HOLMES (voice-over): Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis only deepened after the United States froze billions of dollars of the country's assets. Billions in foreign aid evaporated, all as more than 28 million Afghans require immediate humanitarian assistance, according to the U.N.

Access to sources of warmth and food are scarce, and many Afghan families are starving, dying. The Taliban claims to CNN it has helped Afghans affected, but even if that's so, for many, it may be too little, too late, amid fears the cold conditions will worsen.


HOLMES: In Syria, a residential building collapsed in Aleppo, killing at least 13 people, according to state media.

First responders have been searching through the rubble for survivors. The Syrian interior ministry says there were seven families inside the five-story building when it collapsed on Sunday.

Right now, no official word on what caused the collapse.

Well, the world says goodbye to the daughter of the King of Rock and Roll. For a final farewell to Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley, we'll take you to Graceland when we come back.





HOLMES: This Sunday memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley, filled with music.

Crowds gathered in and around the Graceland estate in Memphis, in the U.S. state of Tennessee.

Flowers and pictures have piled up in tribute to 54-year-old Presley, who died on January 12, following an apparent cardiac arrest.

Musical performances at the memorial included a tribute by Axl Rose.




HOLMES: The Guns N' Roses front man remembered Lisa Marie Presley with the son "November Rain."

Musicians Alanis Morrisette and Billy Corgan also performed.

The husband of Presley's daughter, actress Riley Keogh, read part of a tribute his wife wrote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN SMITH-PETERSEN, HUSBAND OF PRESLEY'S DAUGHTER RILEY KEOUGH: "I'm a product of your heart. My sisters are a product of your heart. My brother is a product of your heart. We are you. You are us, my eternal love. I hope you finally know how loved you were here. Thank you for trying so hard for us. If I didn't tell you every day, thank you.


HOLMES: CNN's Nadia Romero spoke to mourners bidding farewell to Lisa Marie Presley in Memphis.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For four and five hours, people were waiting in lines, sleeping in cars, just to be able to be a part of the public memorial for Lisa Marie Presley.

People tell me it was absolutely beautiful, a way to celebrate her life. And they say that's exactly what she would have wanted.

So this is the funeral agenda that everybody received. One woman told me this is a piece of history that she's planning on holding onto for a very long time.

Behind me is the famed stone wall, and you can see people left their flowers. They also left messages to Elvis and to Lisa Marie, and then flowers even on the ground. Candles, teddy bears, all along the stone wall.

On the other side, that's the Graceland mansion there, and that's where the public memorial happened.

After the services, there was a private ceremony, where she was laid to rest next to her father, Elvis, and next to her son, who also tragically died.

People tell me they came from all around the country -- from Ohio, from Colorado, from Washington state, from Florida -- just to be a part of this moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ending of something. And, she told us to be happy, so I was happy the whole time I was there. Now it's just kind of catching up with me. What this really is. It's the end of an era. It's very touching.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elvis fans are the best people in the world. They really are. And his daughter has been through so much in her lifetime. And it's like tragedy follows this family, but you can't stop loving them. And you can't stop rooting for them. So, from that perspective, I will always remain a fan of Elvis and his family.

ROMERO: Now there are still questions looming over how exactly Lisa Marie Presley died, but for many people I spoke with, they told me that, although they're curious, they just want to celebrate her life and the legacy of the Presley family.

Nadia Romero, CNN, Memphis.


HOLMES: Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @HolmesCNN. You never know what you'll find there.

Stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next, and then Laila Harrak takes over the news duties.