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Police Search for Motive After Monterey Park Shooting; Monterey Park Shooting Suspect Dead; Six Classified Items Found at Biden's Delaware Home Friday; City Officials Condemn Destruction During Atlanta Protest; Netanyahu Dismisses Key Ally From All Ministerial Posts. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 23, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and everywhere around the world, I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead from CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was chaos. There was wounded people. There was people trying to flee out all the doors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could just tell, they were going to get this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feel safe. You are no longer in danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gun violence needs to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that classified material keeps turning up has definitely complicated things for the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Biden's attorneys are really doing the right thing. They're being very careful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fifth time there's been classified information. Was it merely a mistake over multiple times?


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It is Monday, January 23rd, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 1:00 a.m. in Southern California where investigators are working to determine the motive in the deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park that killed ten people and injured ten others during Lunar New Year celebrations. NOBILO: 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.

FOSTER: He's been identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. People who knew him say he was once a regular at the distance hall where police accused him of opening fire on Saturday night. Monterey Park police describe what officers on the scene encountered.


CHIEF SCOTT WIESE, MONTEREY PARK POLICE DEPARTMENT: The first officers on scene were one of -- some of my youngest officers. They'd only been on the street for a very short period of time. When they came into the parking lot, it was chaos. There were wounded people. There were people trying to flee out all the doors. They immediately went into action and within just a couple minutes those officers had entered the location looking for the suspect. That's our protocols here. We don't wait.

Inside they came across a scene that none of them had been prepared for, so there were injured people inside. There were dead people inside. And my young officers did their job, searched for a suspect. And then came back and had to deal with the carnage that was inside. And it was extensive.


NOBILO: The victims of the shooting are still being identified. The sheriff says that the suspect went to another gathering in nearby Alhambra where some people wrestled the gun away from him. It was that seized weapon that allowed police to identify him.


SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LOS ANGELES 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.


FOSTER: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department obtained a search warrant for the suspect's home in the city of Hemet. His home is said to be a senior community. CNN Natasha Chen has been following developments and has more from Monterey Park.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. 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 are 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's 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.


FOSTER: CNN law enforcement and national security analysts have been weighing in on what investigators will be looking at as they search for motive.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: When we started to hear these details, the fact he is Asian, he had frequented this facility, he matched the age of the victims who are older. This is not a club that we -- might think of a club like 20 and 30-year-olds. This is more of a social club, that he had some relationship or connection to someone there whether through relationship or employment because we just don't see victims like this in terms of their age on a Saturday night in a mass shooting in the U.S. but as well as the age of the assailant. He is older than most mass shootings in the United States are perpetuated by younger men. JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The phase that we're

moving into is, you know, the investigative phase. And it's tying in together, you know, trying to understand the motive, you know, of this attacker. Why was this location chosen? Was this, you know, this targeted act of violence, was it in response to some sort of grievance with an individual. You know, what were the factors that led this individual to, you know, commit this crime at that location and the secondary site, right.

So, is this something that they went into the first location, didn't see the target they were looking for and then moved on to the next location. Again, all of that is going to be part of the investigative process.

They're going to start looking at friends, family, interviewing them, trying to understand, you know, was there something -- you know, what was the motivation behind this act? They'll look at, you know, all of the digital trace evidence that they possibly can. Did this person, you know, belong to some sort of group? Did he telegraph any type of grievance or concern that would have led to, you know, this act? This is where investigators are going to start taking the items of evidentiary value from the crime scene, piecing it together with other elements. Again, to try to answer that question why.


NOBILO: U.S. President Joe Biden is speaking out against what he calls a senseless attack in California. He's ordered flags at the White House and other federal buildings in Washington to fly at half-staffed until sunset on Thursday out of respect for the shooting victims. CNN's Arlette Saenz has details of his reaction to the tragedy.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden offered condolences to those impacted by the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. And acknowledged the impact the shooting has had on the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

The president on Sunday evening ordered flags at the White House and other federal government buildings be flown at half-staff. And he also in a statement pledged federal support for the local community.

President Biden saying in a statement, quote: Jill and I are thinking of those killed and injured in last night's deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park. While there is still much we don't know about the motive in this senseless attack, we do know that many families are grieving tonight or praying that their loved one will recover from their wounds. Even as we continue searching for answers about this attack, we know how deeply this attack has impacted the AAPI community. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest AAPI communities in America. Many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend.

Now Congresswoman Julie Chu who represents Monterey Park said that she received phone calls from the White House as long as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. President Biden spent the weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where he continued to receive updates, including from his homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood Randall. And the president in his statement said that he directed her to ensure that the federal government is offering all support necessary to the local community.


Now, one thing that is very important in the president's statement is that he notes that there is still no motive that has been determined to be tied to this shooting. That is something law enforcement officials have been working through throughout the day. But President Biden with his statement trying to make clear they're offering support to a community that is grieving these very deep losses.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, traveling with the president in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.


FOSTER: Meanwhile, the president has picked a replacement for outgoing chief of staff Ron Klain. Sources tell CNN Jeff Zients is expected to fill the role. He ran Mr. Biden's COVID-19 response effort and also served in the Obama administration.

NOBILO: Zients has been described as a master implementer. And we're also told that Klain favor him as his successor. Klain's expected to step down in the coming weeks, but the source says that he'll continue to be involved and remain close to the West Wing.

U.S. Senate Democrats insist President Joe Biden is committed to a transparent investigation after six more classified items were found Friday during a search at his Delaware home.

One house Republican says the law should be applied equally to the investigations of both President Biden and former President Donald Trump and Democrats say they welcome the inquiry.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-ILS): To think that any of them ended up in boxes, in storage one place or the other, is just unacceptable. But having said that, let me make this point clear, Joe Biden has said from the start, we are going to be totally transparent about this. Let the chips fall where they may.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): I do think this was inadvertent. The whole point of having a special counsel is to ensure that and to give the American people confidence in that. But frankly, Martha, I also don't think this is an issue that's keeping Americans up at night.

SEN. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R-PA): Classified documents can never be taken out of a SCIF ever. I am both a former FBI agent and I'm currently on the House Intelligence Committee. That's number one. Number two, we need equal application of the law. And that's what we're going to make sure that we ensure. We're going to do a deep dive into the circumstances surrounding the prior administration and the current administration both dealing with classified documents and making sure the law is applied equally across the board. That's what the American people are demanding.


FOSTER: Well, the six items found Friday are in addition to approximately 20 item found previously at Mr. Biden's home and private office in Washington. CNN's Jessica Schneider has more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: After that FBI search on Friday lasting 13 hours, the White House is getting their message out that they have been fully cooperative in the past few weeks with federal officials.

So, the president's personal attorney, Bob Bower, he stressed in a statement that they did provide prompt access to Biden's Wilmington home. And it's clear that Biden's attorneys have been communicating with the team for the U.S. attorney who has been handling this investigation out of Chicago, John Lausch, all before that's eventually handed over to the special counsel that the Attorney General appointed, Robert Hur.

Crucially here, Friday's search was not conducted with a search warrant or a subpoena. And of course, that marks a stark contrast to the search that was conducted in August at Mar-a-Lago. That was undertaken after months of back and forth with DOJ officials and Trump's team. And it was after a subpoena and then ultimately a search warrant was issued all because Trump and his team were not handing over what turned out to be national defense information, also classified material. So that's why possible obstruction has been raised as a possible offense in that case.

You contrast that with Biden's team. They've made very clear that they've been working with federal authorities on this since November when some of this classified material turned up from the Penn Biden Center in Washington where President Biden had that office after his term ended as vice president.

And then notably, in a statement from January 14th, the president's personal attorney said that once attorneys found classified material at Biden's Wilmington home on January 11th, they immediately contacted DOJ officials and they stopped any of their own subsequent searches. And that was all until the FBI moved in on Friday.

But to be sure here, the fact that classified material keeps turning up, it is really complicated things for the White House. And it really does make clear that this special counsel investigation has only gotten more involved. And because of that, the big question remains, is this the only search that will happen, the one that happened on Friday? Or will other locations frequented by President Biden be searched in the future?

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: Just ahead, we'll have the latest developments in the aftermath of Saturday's protests in Atlanta that turned destructive.

FOSTER: Plus, new developments on the shooting of a teacher allegedly by a 6-year-old boy. We'll tell you where the gun likely came from and how accessible it was.

NOBILO: And a breakdown of the national power grid leaves Pakistan, a nation of some 220 million people largely without electricity. So, we'll have a live report from Islamabad for you.



NOBILO: The State of Louisiana is reeling from a pair of mass shootings on Sunday. Three children and five adults were injured in Shreveport after witnesses say that several people pulled up to a home and fired at least 40 times. Police believe that the home was targeted, but the motive is unclear.

FOSTER: Meanwhile, 12 people were shot in a Baton Rouge nightclub early on Sunday, which police believe was also a targeted attack. The police chief says more people would have been shot if not for the quick action of officers on the scene. Police are working with federal authorities to figure out how the shooter was able to get a gun inside the club.

And we're learning more about the gun that a 6-year-old boy allegedly used to shoot a Virginia teacher this month. A lawyer for the child's family says the weapon was kept on the top shelf of the mother's bedroom closet.

NOBILO: Police say that the boy brought the weapon to school where she shot and wounded Abby Zwerner. The teacher was released from hospital last week and doctors say that she still in recovery.

Police have announced charges for six people arrested in Atlanta after a Saturday protest where windows were smashed and a police car was set on fire. Each of them faces felony and misdemeanor charges, including domestic terrorism and arson in the first degree.


Meanwhile, Atlanta city officials are denouncing the destruction of property. Nick Valencia has this story.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officials are denouncing the events of Saturday night as acts of violence, saying that protesters have the right to peacefully demonstrate. But what happened here in downtown Atlanta, they say, was anything but. Speaking shortly after these events on Saturday night were stopped, the mayor of Atlanta said that several of those arrested were out of town.

ANDRE DICKENS, (D) ATLANTA MAYOR: Make no mistake about it, these individuals meant harm to people and to property. And we continue to protect the right to peacefully protest. We will not tolerate violence or property destruction. My message is simple to those who seek to continue this type of criminal behavior, we will find you and we will arrest you, and you will be held accountable.

VALENCIA: This destruction of property comes just days after the activist Manuel Teran was shot and killed by police at the site of a proposed training police fire and training facility. A proposed $90 million facility that would take up 85 acres just outside the city of Atlanta in a predominantly black and brown neighborhood.

Demonstrators were protesting the proposed construction of that facility as well as the death of Manuel Teran. And it was during Saturday night that I spoke with Teran's mother who denounced the acts of violence, saying though that the movement -- she supports the movement and is planning on showing up here in the United States from Panama to help support this and drive this forward. She says she's also speaking to human rights lawyers to see what her options are in seeking justice for her child.

One thing is clear is that the rhetoric is ramping up between the police and the activists as this proposed construction or this proposed police training facility, the fate of it lies in the balance.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: Israel's Prime Minister is now without a key ally in his cabinet. Dismissal came a day after the largest turnout so far in weeks of protests against Benjamin Netanyahu's government. CNN's Hadas Gold has more.


HADAS GOLD, CNN 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 into 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 heating 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 the 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'll 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 co-existence 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.

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


FOSTER: Well, Hadas joins us now from Jerusalem. Netanyahu says he wants to bring Deri back, but it's hard to see how that's possible.

GOLD (on camera): Yes, Max. And that's exactly where the situation with Deri will potentially run head first into the already raging debate over judicial reforms. There had been a few possibilities how Netanyahu could do this. One of them is bringing Deri as just an observer to the cabinet, somebody who can't vote. But another one would be to make an amendment to Israel's basic law, the closest thing is will have to a constitution that would prevent the Supreme Court from interfering in future ministerial appointments.


So, as you can see that could just further enflame this ongoing debate about the role of the Supreme Court. Now,

I do want to add that yesterday Aryeh Deri did release a statement in which he said: That at no stage was there any doubt that he would not comply with the court's ruling.

Because several days had passed since the court ruling until Deri was actually fired. But he vowed to continue to lead his party and contribute with all his might to the public and to the governing coalition -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Hadas, thank you for joining us from Jerusalem.

NOBILO: In the Peruvian capital, authorities 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 who were accused of illegally occupying a university. Their actions are part of a broader campaign of anti- government protests that have gone on for weeks now.

FOSTER: Still to come, investigators searching for answers after a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. An update on the investigation just ahead.

NOBILO: Plus, Ukraine's hopes for modern tanks that could soon become a reality. How potential shift from Germany could allow Poland to fulfill Ukraine's request.


FOSTER: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date on our top stories this hour.

Police in Southern California say the suspect in a deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park is dead. The Los Angeles County sheriff says 72-year-old Huu Can Tran died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a police standoff. He's accused of opening fire at a dance studio on Saturday night, killing ten people and injuring ten others. The sheriff says that Tran went to another gathering in nearby Alhambra where two people were wrestled -- who wrestled the gun away from him. It was that seized weapon that allowed police to identify him.


SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: We're looking at all criminal history, mental health history.