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Deadly Shooting In Washington State; Ed Davis Is Interviewed About The Half Moon Bay Shooting; DOJ Targets Google; Three Candidates For RNC; Renner Police Report. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired January 25, 2023 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Him down after he asked a woman to borrow her cell phone so he could call his mother. That witness says she then heard him say, quote, I killed those people. Lord.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov following the story.
Do we know more about the call between the suspect and his mother?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, these harrowing details emerging yesterday from the police chief's press conference now following the overnight homicides yesterday. Initially we knew that police and a SWAT team had surrounded a home in Yakima where they thought this presumed suspect who they earlier named in a Facebook post as Jarid Haddock, 21 years old, a local resident, was at.
But, instead, this bystander that you mentioned saw him at a different location near some warehouses. He, as you point out, borrowed the woman's phone, called his mother. She overheard him making those horrific statements that he killed these people and also threatened to kill himself.
The woman got her phone back. She informed police of what she heard and that he was nearby and that he was traveling on foot. He was later found near a marijuana store.
Now, police say they responded to the scene immediately, within minutes. They arrived to the scene. They heard a gunshot. They didn't see what had happened. And when they finally came upon him, he had apparently taken his own life. Officials did try to save him, but he was later pronounced dead.
And, of course, what that means, Jim and Erica, is right now we still have no motive. Three people dead in what the police chief described as random, horrific shootings. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF MATT MURRAY, YAKIMA, WASHINGTON POLICE: What we saw on the video and what was described by witnesses, there was no interaction between him and the people. They were just sitting there getting food and got surprised by this person who came in and, you know, literally as he was opening the door started shooting these people. And then, after shooting both of them - and, remember, he was not masked up. He did nothing to conceal his identity. He walked out, saw somebody else in a car and shot them, and then walked across the street, shot his own car, a lot of times by the way, and drove away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAFANOV: And, again, let's just go through the logistics of those homicides. Police say at around - they got a - they got a call at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday into Monday about gunshots being fired at these gas stations. They believe that the suspect pulled into an Arco gas station, am/pm (ph) store. Tried to get into the store there. It was locked. He couldn't. He then headed across the street to the Circle K. As he's walking into the store, he pulls out his gun, he shoots and kills those two people who were getting food. Walks out, shoots and kills another person. Goes back to his car. He shoots the car because he had to get into it. He apparently didn't have his keys, and drives away. Again, that suspect now deceased. Very few answers at this stage for the families of the three people that he killed.
Jim and Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, wow.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Lord.
HILL: Lucy, appreciate the update. Thank you.
This afternoon, the man suspected of killing seven people in Half Moon Bay, California, set to appear in court. And ahead of that we are learning some new details about his violent past. Police say 66-year- old Chunli Zhao had targeted victims, all of them current or former coworkers, at two mushroom farms. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo says the farm workers were killed with, quote, purpose, with intent, excuse style.
SCIUTTO: According to court records obtained by CNN, this was not the first time that Zhao had been accused of violence against someone he worked with.
Joining us now to discuss, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
Good to have you on, Commissioner Davis. Thanks so much for taking the time this morning.
So, according to this police report, the suspect was accused of trying to suffocate and threatening to murder a former co-worker. This at another job nearly a decade ago. Often in the wake of shootings like this, folks will talk about red flag laws as the solution or a major solution. Based on the red flag laws in place right now, would they have prevented someone like this from buying a firearm?
ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, the red flag laws are really focused on incidents that are occurring in a timely fashion, triggering events. So, there are 17 states that have these laws. And basically it allows for police, or other people, to report someone to say, someone has a gun and the police should remove the gun from their possession.
The - the -- what happened in the history of someone would be looked at upon judicial review of a red flag warning. But there was no reason to trigger the red flag laws in this particular case.
I will say, though, that whenever there's a background check on someone who is applying for a weapon, a crime of violence, even if it happened nine years ago, would certainly or should certainly be considered.
HILL: So, in terms of those background checks, both Massachusetts, where you are, and California, do require a background check before legally purchasing a firearm. You mentioned that that would pop up. As we all grapple with the reality of gun violence in this country, there are so many questions about what could potentially change.
HILL: Would an annual renewal process or even an annual background check help in any way?
DAVIS: These are exactly the kind of pragmatic, common sense solutions to some of these problems we're seeing that people have been talking about for a long time. We just can't seem to get to that point. Doing yearly reviews is a great idea. Having a method of evaluating someone who has been showing psychological problems or bizarre behavior and using a tool to assess them and determine whether or not they should either have a weapon or have their weapons confiscated or even be monitored in some way, those are all valid responses to what we're seeing to this rash of horrible incidents, but it's really hard to get them into the law. So, the tools aren't there right now.
SCIUTTO: I mean one weakness of these laws, right, is who it puts the onus on, right? In some cases the families has to report this. An employer, in this case, from years ago, I imagine, would have to stay on top of it in some way or you'd have to have systems in place so that that warning would still come up years later I suppose.
You're a long-time cop. I mean what would help you do your job, would actually make a difference?
DAVIS: Some type of database that looks at psychological problems and the cross over between people who are applying for guns, who are trying to buy ammunition online, who are - who are exhibiting bizarre behavior. And allowing, at some point, and I know this is controversial, but getting the police involved in it so they can go out and talk to somebody. Or maybe getting a psychologist involved with it so they can go out and talk to somebody. Intervention needs to happen. We have systems that are available to us. Why we're not using them is confusing to me.
HILL: Ed Davis, always appreciate your insight and the conversation. Thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you both. Thank you.
HILL: This afternoon, parents and teachers will return to that Virginia elementary school for the first time since a six-year-old shot a teacher. Richneck Elementary School is set to temporarily open its doors. So this will allow parents to visit before the official re- opening on Monday, which will be, by the way, nearly a month after that shooting.
SCIUTTO: A six-year-old with a gun. The school board is also expected to hold a special session today to vote on whether to oust the superintendent following outcry from outraged parents. Later we will hear from the attorney of Abby Zwerner, that's the teacher who was shot. Her attorney is expected to talk about Zwerner's condition, new information about the shooting, also what's next for the recovering teacher.
Still ahead, the Republican Party has not faced a split like this at the RNC at least in nearly a decade. More on the two candidates fighting to snatch the leadership role from the current head, Ronna McDaniel.
SCIUTTO: The U.S. government has just filed suit against Google, accusing the company of dominating the online advertising market and bullying its way to get there.
HILL: Eight states have joined with the DOJ's lawsuit, demanding that Google break up its advertising business. Google, for its part, says that would only hurt the customer.
Joining us now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.
So, how did we get to the point that now the DOJ is saying, enough is enough, Google?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the DOJ is saying that for 15 years this has been a crescendo of dominance in this industry and that its practices are a monopoly, right, are anti-competitive.
Let's listen to Merrick Garland, the attorney general, when he announced this deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: For 15 years Google has pursued a course of anti-competitive conduct that has allowed it to halt the rise of rival technologies, manipulate auction mechanics to insulate itself from competition and force advertisers and publishers to use its tools.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: And it has been wildly profitable. This is the big player in this arena, right? It generated $209 billion in advertising revenue in 2021. You know, that's almost twice the next player, which is Facebook Meta. And the government goes out to lay out very carefully how Google, it says, controls the digital tool that nearly every website publisher uses, the publisher ad server. It controls the dominant advertiser tool, that's the advertiser ad revenue, and then - and then it controls the largest advertising exchange, the ad exchange. So it has this big flow chart showing how Google has its hands on the entire process, buys out competitors so that it can keep control, and that this is essentially an anti-competitive environment here.
Google has responded saying this is the government trying to pick winners and losers in what it calls a highly competitive advertising market. DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise ad fees and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow. That is the Google response to this muscular stance from DOJ.
SCIUTTO: Christine, so, I suppose, the trouble here is that the federal government itself has used Google for some advertising. From a legal standpoint, does that help Google's case?
ROMANS: I'm not sure about the legal standpoint, but it is definitely an anecdote that the government is using here in its - in its case against the - against Google. And it points out that for years the Army is one of multiple government advertiser that uses Google's tools and has spent $100 million buying online ads. So, it points out, look, we too, the taxpayer, is a customer here.
ROMANS: So, we speak here on behalf of both the government and the American taxpayer because we advertise using Google.
HILL: Interesting to see.
SCIUTTO: I get it. So not help for Google. Helpful, I guess, for the government's standpoint for the government to say, hey, we're - we're -- you guys are victims here too of all this.
ROMANS: Depends how you lawyer it, you know?
SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes. Exactly.
ROMANS: And there will be a lot of lawyers.
HILL: Doesn't it - doesn't it always? Yes, a lot of lawyers getting - it will be very busy on this one. Super interesting. Christine, thank you.
ROMANS: Yes. HILL: Three candidates are gearing up for a fierce fight to lead the Republican National Committee. For the first time in more than a decade, the vote may actually go to multiple ballots to pick a party chair.
SCIUTTO: Multiple ballots. That sounds familiar.
The RNC's winter meetings - meeting begins today in California. The incumbent chair, Ronna McDaniel, being challenged by California attorney Harmeet Dhillon, also a familiar face, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
CNN national correspondent Kristen Holmes joins us now.
So, similar, as I referenced there, to the speaker fight there, showing real divisions in the party. But is this - are any of these challenging candidates likely to go anywhere? Do we know how this is going to play out?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, first of all, we should just say that this is really between two candidates here. I mean any RNC member that I've talked to, no of them are taking Mike Lindell seriously.
HOLMES: So that's kind of out there.
HOLMES: Now, while this is not unlike the speaker's race, also because of the fact that this puts the fractures of the Republican Party just in full view publicly.
Now, whether or not McDaniel is in trouble, I mean mathematically it seems no. And here's why. There are 168 members of the RNC who will vote on Friday. One hundred of them have publicly backed McDaniel. That leaves not enough votes, obviously, for Dhillon.
However, here's where it gets interesting. This is a secret ballot election. And Dhillon's people believe that without that public pressure there is a possibility that they could actually change their votes when they're actually casting their ballot and vote for Dhillon.
And this has become an increasingly ugly race. There have been accusations hurled. On top of that, I mean, what I have heard, just from sources on both sides, has gotten increasingly more and more nasty. You have McDaniel on one side. She says that she's the best position to unite the party ahead of 2024. This is, obviously, a critical time. Dhillon says we need new leadership because of those lackluster midterm results.
And over all of this, again, as with everything in the Republican Party, Donald Trump is looming. He has not endorsed either candidate. But it is no secret that he is close to McDaniel. However, Dhillon is also one of his attorneys that was hired to help deal with the January 6th committee.
HOLMES: So, there's a lot of factors here at play.
Kristen Holmes, thanks so much. Something we'll clearly keep watching closely.
HILL: Still to come, just what happened in the moments leading up to that traumatic snow plow accident that crushed actor Jeremy Renner. Why he jumped back into the runaway plow and what could have made a difference. All those new details, ahead.
HILL: The man who dared to ask, can television be used to teach young children, has died. Lloyd Morrissett was the co-creator of "Sesame Street." Morrissett, a psychologist, posed that very question more than 50 years ago to a TV producer, and the legendary show was born.
SCIUTTO: Well, if you're like me, you grew up on this and still have such good memories. The 93 years was also chair of the Sesame Workshop. That's the non-profit behind the show. The workshop tweeted this morning, quote, Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with "Sesame Street" only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and a lasting impact. I send that.
HILL: Still doing such important, incredible work. And we have been so fortunate at CNN to partner with Sesame on some efforts. What a loss, but what a gift as well.
SCIUTTO: No question.
My partner Erica Hill has done a lot with them.
Well, new details this morning about what happened moments before the snowplow accident that broke more than 30 of actor Jeremy Renner's bones.
HILL: In a newly released incident report, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office is emphasizing the difference that the emergency brake could have made here.
CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas joining us now.
So, the difference the emergency break could have made makes me think the emergency brake was not used, Chloe.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: It was not used. And so this is a really important development that we have obtained at CNN, this incident report. So here is -- here is exactly what happened. And we've been updating everyone as we've been getting, you know, information piecemeal here.
But, so, Jeremy Renner is on a snowcat, similar to what you're looking at on the screen. And we know that he was trying to tow a car that his nephew was driving that got stuck in his driveway due to the unprecedented snowfall in the area.
He is on this snowcat, successfully tows the car in the driveway, and the emergency - the parking brake wasn't on and it started to slide sideways. He jumps off this snowcat and he then realizes that it's heading straight toward his groan nephew. So, he attempts to get on the snowcat to stop it, to save his nephew's life. He was successful in it not hitting his nephew, but he stepped on to the track.
So, these snowcats, they run on these massive, you know, thousands and thousands of pounds, it's like a 14,000 pound snowcat, and he steps up and immediately - imagine, it's like a conveyor belt. He steps up onto the track and he gets pulled under and it crushes him.
Thank goodness he survived. And we know it's going to be an incredibly long road to recovery. Jim just said it was 30 bones that he broke. Jeremy releasing this on Instagram over the weekend and showing himself in physical therapy. But incredibly scary.
So, he gets up onto the snowcat in an attempt to pull that parking brake.
Now we do know, in the incident report, that the parking brake light that comes on was not working. So perhaps a bit of mechanical issues as well. But, yes, a lot of questions remain.
I've reached out to Jeremy Renner and his representatives for comment about this, but he hasn't spoken. He hasn't given any interviews to news outlets just yet.
HILL: It is amazing that he survived that when you give us those details. I'm thinking about how that works.
MELAS: And amazing that his nephew was there, was not injured. And, again, the injury report says that there was no impairment. You know, Jeremey wasn't under the influence of anything. This was just one of those kind of freak moments.
But thank goodness his nephew was able to get him the help that he needed because it took paramedics over 20 minutes to get to him because of all the snowfall and road closures and everything. So, you know, as scary as this was, thank goodness that the stars aligned in the perfect way for him to survive.
But, again, 30 bones broken. It's going to be a long road to recovery for him.
HILL: Yes, certainly is.
SCIUTTO: Yes. HILL: Chloe, appreciate the update. Thank you.
MELAS: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Still ahead, we're going to go live to the White House as we expect to hear from President Joe Biden very soon the administration's plans to send Ukraine highly sought-after Abrams tanks. We'll have an update coming up.
SCIUTTO: Top of the hour this Wednesday morning. I'm Jim Sciutto.
HILL: And I'm Erica Hill.
Just a short time from now, President Biden expected to speak about U.S. support for Ukraine.
And we're going to bring those remarks to you live when that happens.
This, of course, comes as U.S. official say they're finalizing plans to send dozens of Abrams tanks.