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Man Describes How He Confronted, Disarmed Gunman; Family of Tyre Nichols Sees Arrest Video for First Time; Former FBI Official Charged with Helping Russian Oligarch; China Detaining Demonstrators After Covid Rules Protests; Dozens of Antiquities Seized in U.S. are Back in Italy. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 24, 2023 - 04:30   ET



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

Authorities in Oakland, California, are investigating a mass shooting that left a person dead and seven injured. It's one of three mass shootings in that state in just the last three days. And in Half Moon Bay, California the suspect accused of killing seven people and injuring another in two different locations is said to be cooperating with investigators. A 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, was arrested just hours after the shooting.

NOBILO: Meantime we're hearing from a man is being hailed as a hero for confronting and disarming the Monterey Park gunman after he showed up at a second dance studio on Saturday night. CNN has obtained exclusive footage showing Brandon Tsay approaching the suspect after he entered the studio in Alhambra with a weapon. It also captures a struggle between the two. Tsay says that he sprung into action after realizing that there was an imminent threat.


BRANDON TSAY, CONFRONTED AND DISARMED GUNMAN: I'm not been a lie, I did freeze up when I saw him with the gun. I had many thoughts where I would think I'm going to die. This is it, this is the end for me. But then something happened, you know, something came over me. I just had this rush of thought and adrenaline in this sort of situation and I was able to come to a conclusion that I needed to do something. I needed to grab the gun. I needed to save myself and the people inside.

He looked like he was still trying to fight but as I pointed the gun at him and told him go, go away, you've got to leave. Go, get out of here and I also threatened him that I would shoot and I had many thoughts. I thought I would actually have to kill him, I would actually shoot a person. He was trying to contemplate whether to attack. Like there was a brief standoff where he was just thinking about coming after me with his body. And I was thinking, oh, I would have to shoot him. But he actually came to the conclusion to turn around and leave and that's when he exited the door and jogged back to his van. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Tsay also said that he's grateful for his ability to survive the situation. It's providing some hope to others.

FOSTER: Amazing story.

Now attorneys for the family of a black man who died during a traffic stop say the video of his arrest shows the police beating him nonstop for three minutes. 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was hospitalized in a critical condition earlier this month in Memphis, Tennessee, where he died just a few days later. His family has seen that video but it hasn't been made public yet. CNN's Nick Valencia has more.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorneys for the family of Tyre Nichols did not hold back in their characterization of the video of his arrest seeing it for the first time on Monday alongside his family.


One family attorney Benjamin Crump said that the video reminded him of the 1991 beating of Rodney King. He said that the video was so hard to watch that Tyre Nichols' mother couldn't make it through the first minute.

The family also said that during what they called about three minutes that police officers were beating on Nichols. He asked them reportedly, what did I do?

RODNEY WELLS, FATHER OF TYRE NICHOLS: Our son ran because he was scared for his life. He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that. He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life.

VALENCIA: The family and the attorney said that they were careful to offer too many details of what they saw in those videos because there is an ongoing investigation. Not only is the Shelby County District Attorney's office investigating, so is the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, those five officers that were involved in Tyre Nichols' arrest have all since been fired.

I did reach out earlier and speak to the spokesperson at the District Attorney's Office in Shelby County who said it's not a matter of if but when the video gets released. Saying that it is likely to be released sometime later this week, if not next week. They are bracing for the public's reaction. This as the parents of Tyre Nichols are asking protesters to keep any future demonstrations peaceful.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NOBILO: A former FBI official has been arrested and charged in two separate cases in the United States. Now get this. One indictment alleges that Charles McGonigal worked for the sanctioned Russian oligarch after he retired.

FOSTER: The other claims that he concealed money he received from a former employee from an Albanian intelligence agency. Here's what CNN's Kara Scannell told our Jake Tapper earlier.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: That oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, was himself sanctioned by the U.S. for his dealings with Russia. He is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. So, the fact that McGonigal, who is at one point the top official in the New York field office at the FBI, the special agent in charge of the counter intelligence division, he had overseen investigations into Deripaska.

But when he left the government, prosecutors allege that he started working for Deripaska, helping to dig up some dirt on a rival. And that is where they say he violated those sanctions. Because if you do any business with some of these sanctions, you're subject to those same prohibitions in the U.S.

Now, that was the first load of charges that we saw. Then there was a second indictment that was announced by the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C. They alleged that while Charles McGonigal -- the former chief of intel in New York -- while he held that position, he received $225,000 in payment from a former employee of an Albanian intelligence agency. Now, they say that he was working with that Albanian, receiving those payments. They say that he also didn't disclose any travel that he took overseas, and he took multiple trips with him.

And that he did not disclose on government forms as required, the meetings that he was over there with any foreign nationals. And according to prosecutors, he met multiple times with the prime minister of Albanian. And he pleaded not guilty and was released on a $500,000 bond.


NOBILO: The parent company of ticket sales giant Ticketmaster will face lawmakers in the coming hours over last year's Taylor Swift concert debacle. The CFO for Live Nation is set to tell U.S. Senate committee that sales for Swift's tour were disrupted by record bot activity and the company has learned valuable lessons from all this.

FOSTER: Ticketmaster canceled the planned ticket sale to the general public for the Eras Tour after its website was slammed. The company has come under intense criticism from fans and lawmakers accusing it of having too much control over the market for tickets.

NOBILO: And just ahead, key economic barometer hints that a U.S. recession might be coming soon.



FOSTER: Investors on Wall Street are hoping to keep positive momentum when trading gets underway in just a few hours' time. But the momentum isn't there at a moment. These are the futures all currently down at the moment. On Monday the Dow rallied to finish 3/4 of a percent higher. The Nasdaq had an even better day gaining more than two percent and the S&P finished more than one percent higher.

A keep economic barometer -- I wasn't quite sure where we were going there. Breathing for me now. A key economic barometer hints that a U.S. recession may be coming in the new future. The conference board's leading economic index declined for a tenth straight month in December. One economist predicts economic activity will likely turn negative before rebounding in the final quarter of this year.

Anyway, a new survey finds that most business economists expect their company to cut payrolls in the coming months. A survey by the National Association for Business Economists in the U.S., found only 12 percent of economists predicted an employment increase whilst 19 percent believe payrolls will decline.

NOBILO: Just days after announcing plans to lay off thousands of employees, tech giant Microsoft is confirming a multi-billion dollar investment in Open AI. The company behind the artificial intelligence program "ChatGPT." The chatbot was released to the general public late last year and quickly went viral. Because it can provide thoughtful and eerily human responses to a wide range of user prompts. Microsoft was an early investor in Open AI and says that advancements in artificial intelligence are the next major wave of computing.

FOSTER: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration wants to simplify the COVID vaccine process making it more like an annual flu shot. Under its proposed guidelines most Americans may need just one COVID vaccine dose each year regardless of how many they've had before.

NOBILO: But two shots might still be needed for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. And much like the flu vaccine, the FDA hopes to identify COVID strains by June so vaccines can be developed for the fall.

China looks dramatically different since scrapping its zero-COVID measures last month after public protests. But some residents say that they're still paying the price for being part of those rallies. CNN's Selina Wang spoke with a woman who says that her friend seemingly vanished leaving a chilling video behind detailing what may have happened.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you're seeing this video, that means I've already been taken by the police.

These are the chilling words of a young woman in China who took part in this demonstration in Beijing on November 27th. It was one of dozens of anti-zero COVID protests that erupted in cities across China.

WANG: They're chanting that they don't want COVID tests. They want freedom.

WANG (voice-over): Police mind the streets but the mood was calm and peaceful. Many were there to mourn the lives lost and China's Urumqi city where a deadly fire broke out in a lockdown building.


This 26-year-old woman, an editor at a publishing house said that is why she and her friends took to the streets. She said they follow the rules and didn't have any conflict with the police. Soon after filming this, she was arrested. She knew her time was nearing.

CNN has learned from sources that weeks after the protest, police started rounding up her friends one by one. Most of them also young female professionals.

We tracked down and interviewed one of her friends who's been tirelessly searching for her for not revealing her name or any of the sources we've spoken to because of concerns of retribution from the Chinese state.

Authorities want to intimidate ordinary people, she said, they want to turn people into emotionless machines. We can't even gather together to grieve.

Police swiftly crackdown on the protesters in some cities violently pushing and dragging the demonstrators but the Beijing protesters peacefully dispersed. Afterwards, police blanketed protest sites. In some places, authorities check cell phones for virtual private networks and track down participants with cell phone data.

Soon after, China dropped its zero-COVID policy and opened up. In his New Year's Eve address, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said it was, quote, only natural for different people to have different concerns or hold different views on the same issue.

But behind the scenes, their loved ones say the retribution continues.

She's paying a heavy price. We were born into this land, so naturally we would want to make China better. But now I feel there's nothing that we can do, she says, breaking down into tears.

Authorities have made no official comment about the detentions and will likely never know how many people have been detained in connection with the protests if it's dozens hundreds or more.

As people across China are celebrating the Lunar New Year with their newfound freedom. The young woman says the mothers of her and her friends want to know why their daughters were taken from them.

In her final words in the video message, she made this call for help. Don't let us be taken away or convicted arbitrarily. Don't let us disappear from this world unjustly. WANG: CNN has asked Beijing authorities for comment on the young woman you saw there along with the other detentions but we have not heard back. We've learned she's one of eight people who have been quietly detained after the protests.

People who know these women tell us they were confused as to why they were taken, describing them as young female professionals working in publishing, journalism and education, saying they are socially minded but not dissidents or organizers.

Experts say the police may have been suspicious of young politically aware women. Chinese authorities have a well-documented history of targeting feminists and at least one of the women detained was questioned during her interrogation about whether she had any involvement in feminist groups.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


FOSTER: Now still to come, this UFO shaped cloud stunned onlookers in Turkey. We'll have the details of what was a natural phenomenon apparently.



NOBILO: The nationwide power outage that paralyzed Pakistan is officially over this morning thankfully. The country's energy minister says more than 1,100 electricity grids are now up and running.

FOSTER: More than 200 million people walk up on Monday morning with no electricity. Pakistan's Prime Minister tweeted an apology for the outage.

Authorities say dozens of artifacts stolen for a New York billionaire's private collection are now back in Italy. The pieces worth millions but their cultural value is priceless.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau has the story from Rome.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): These ancient artifacts, worth some $20 million, represent the latest success for Italy's Carabinieri cultural heritage squad.

Many were trafficked and ended up in the collection of American billionaire Michael Steinhardt, who has been banned for life from acquiring antiquities by the New York City district attorney.

Among them, this fresco stolen from Herculaneum near Pompeii. And this bronze bust of a man dating back to around the first century CE, or late BCE.


NADEAU (voice-over): They're back in Italy, thanks to New York City's antiquities trafficking unit, led by Colonel Matthew Bogdanos.

BOGDANOS: These are not just pieces of marble and limestone and frescoes. These represent our shared cultural heritage. In one respect, they belong to the world. But legally, from my purposes, they belong to the country of origin from which they were pillaged.

NADEAU (voice-over): The New York unit has carried out 75 raids and recovered 500 artifacts worth $55 million that have been returned to Italy, Bogdanos told us.

But the real value is their place in Italy's rich cultural identity, Carabinieri cultural heritage squad commander Vincenzo Molinese says.

Many of these pieces that were in museums and private galleries end up in storage facilities once back in Italy.

DARIUS ARYA, ARCHAEOLOGIST: The artifacts have to deserve to, must go back to their home country. That's fundamental. Even if they're not the most important pieces, compared to let's say, the rich collections that exist in Italy, the point is they were robbed from this country. They deserve to go back to their home country.

NADEAU (voice-over): There may be cause for celebration now. But these pieces represent only a drop in the bucket. Authorities say that more pieces are being stolen every moment.


NOBILO: And Barbie is with us now form Rome. Buongiorno. How long has this artifacts repatriation efforts been going on?


NADEAU (on camera): These investigations take multiple years. In fact, to get these 60 items back, some of this started more than 20 years ago. First identifying that they're missing, following the falsified documents, finding who bought them in the United States or whatever country. And then the process of repatriation takes years and years. And we're talking about 60 items. There are thousands, Bianca, that are still missing and out there that these authorities are trying to bring back home.

NOBILO: Barbie Nadeau in Rome for us, thank you so much.

FOSTER: Now out with the old, in with the new. Candy maker Mars says its animated M&M spokes candies are going on indefinite hiatus. I'm lost. They tapped comedian Maya Rudolph to represent the product instead. It comes after the company sparked backlashes on social media over some recent changes like swapping the green M&M's go-go boots for sneakers and introducing a new purple spokes candy. I think don't know what's going on. Do you understand?

NOBILO: When I read the script, I knew that neither of us would not understand it. But I didn't give you a heads up because it's --

FOSTER: But you understand it now?

NOBILO: Yes, I mean broad-brush.

FOSTER: What's the headline?

NOBILO: Yes, that M&Ms are making some changes to their lineup. And they're having a spokes human Maya Rudolph instead of their animated spokes candies.

FOSTER: Meanwhile, the unique cloud formation baffled onlookers in Turkey and went viral on social media.

NOBILO: The country's meteorological department said it's an example of a lens cloud which are generally formed as a result of strong winds blowing over complex terrain. Eyewitnesses say that the shape remained intact for about an hour before dissipating.

FOSTER: They don't explain the color. It's extraordinary.

The northernmost community in the U.S. saw the first sunrise in more than two months on Monday. It's called Utquagvik and there's a small town in Alaska that used to be called Barro.

NOBILO: Your Alaskan is not --

FOSTER: Why don't you make sound much more complex.

NOBILO: It's got a small glimpse of sunlight, about one hour and thirteen minutes. But luckily for the town if the long dark winners have the opposite effect in the summer.

FOSTER: Unbelievable. Thank you for watching. "EARLY START" is next with Christine, I believe.

NOBILO: We'll see you tomorrow.