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Police Bodycam Video Shows Search For Shooter; Judge Rules Pence Must Testify In January 6 Investigation; Deadly Migrant Detention Center Fire. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead. Chilling police body cam video released by Nashville Police. Direct messages from the school shooter and an arsenal of guns recovered, but the motive for the mass killing remains elusive.

A judge orders former Vice President Mike Pence to testify before a federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump and January 6. We will tell you what questions Pence will be asked under oath.

Plus, testifying -- terrifying video into CNN of the moment of fire ripped through a migrant detention center at the U.S.-Mexico border killing 38 people.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: And we begin this hour in Nashville, Tennessee with new developments in the schools shooting that left three children and three adults dead. Police have released dramatic body cam police say the shooter Audrey Hale was under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder. And a report that Hale had legally purchased seven guns in the past few years hiding them at home.

We've also learned that Hale sent chilling text messages to a childhood friend minutes before the attack saying I'm planning to die today. Another one reads, I wanted to tell you first because you are the most beautiful person I've ever seen and known all my life. My family doesn't know what I'm about to do.

Hale goes on. One day this will make more sense. I've left more than enough evidence behind. Hale's friend told CNN what she did next.


AVERIANNA PATTON, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF AUDREY HALE: And initially I was, you know, trying to come for her but soon as I got it, he was just like, this is strange. Let me send this to my daddy. I screenshot to him. I was like, do I call somebody? He was like, yes, and I was like, OK. Who do I call? Like, how do I deal with something like this? Like -- so then he was like, call the suicide prevention. And then that's when I started that process.


CHURCH: Let's turn now to the police response and we must warn you our report from Carlos Suarez contains some disturbing video.



CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Body camera video from two Nashville police officers showing them rushing into the Covenant School on Monday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where he is. Metro police.

SUAREZ: Going room to room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's upstairs. It sounds like he's upstairs.

SUAREZ: And up to the second floor. Before confronting the shooter, surveillance video at the school released by police captured a 28- year-old Audrey Hale shooting through doors at the school, entering and starting the attack.

The authorities revealed more about the writings they said Hale left behind.

CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, METRO NASHVILLE POLICE: There's several different writings about other locations. There were locations -- there was talks about the school. There was a map of the school. A drawing of how potentially she would enter and assaults that would take place.

SUAREZ: Police said they've interviewed the shooter's parents who said Hale was being treated for an emotional disorder.

DRAKE: We've determined that Audrey bought seven firearms from five different local gun stores here legally. They were legally purchase. Three of those weapons were used yesterday.

SUAREZ: According to investigators, Hale hid the guns at home.

DRAKE: Her parents felt that she should not own weapons. They were under the impression that was -- when she sold the one weapon that she did not own any more.

SUAREZ: As a search for answers continues so does the warning for the six people killed.

KAYLEE FRANZEN, NASHVILLE RESIDENT: I think that it's always terrible to hear about something like this happening. But when it's just down the street from your house, it's -- it hits another part of you. SUAREZ: Among the killed was Cynthia Peake. Believed to be a substitute teacher. Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian at the school and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce. She was the head of the school who police believe encountered the shooter in a hallway.


JIM LEE, KATHERINE KOONCE'S FRIEND: Have no question whatsoever. She gave her life because she was trying to protect students, protect faculty.

SUAREZ: The children who were killed were all just nine years old. William Kinney, Evelyn Deickhaus and Hallie Scruggs. Scruggs and the other victims were remembered in a service that was held at the Park City's Presbyterian Church in Dallas where Scrugg's father served as associate pastor before coming to the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

PAUL GOEBEL, ASSOCIATE PASTOR, PARK CITIES PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: We're here because our hearts are broken. We're here because we weep with our friends.


SUAREZ: The chief of police was asked why it took officers 11 minutes to respond to the school after the initial 911 call was made. The Chief said based on what he had seen so far, he did not have a problem with it, but that the department would look into that response.

Carlos Suarez, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.

CHURCH: Joining me now from Middletown, New Jersey is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Jonathan Wackrow. He is a corporate security consultant and a former secret service agent. Appreciate you being with us.


CHURCH: So, police say the shooting suspect legally purchased seven guns using three of them in this deadly rampage. But police also say the suspects parents did not know about these firearms. Authorities have not yet declared a motive, but they have access to a lot of information right now, don't they? Including the suspects detailed written documents. So, when might they reveal a motive?

WACKROW: Well, listen, it's hard to come up with an exact motive, right? One, because the shooter is dead, right? In the -- in the police response. They neutralize that threat. So, we will never get the full totality of what the motive was from the individual themselves. What can we do, we can look at everything else that you had just described. One, we can look at the concerning communication that came out from this individual prior to the shooting itself.

We know that there were posts online messages sent to, you know, friends referencing basically suicidal ideation, concerns for, you know, what they're going to do next, basically telegraphing this action. Additionally, we can look at the written notes that were left for law enforcement. And that's really what they're keying in on right now. Additionally, investigators are going to backtrack.

They're going to start interviewing everybody, all known associates' context of this individual to look for any other red flags, behavioral anomalies. Now, Rosemary, I've said this before on air, and I believe with you, it is not normal to wake up and walk into a location and start killing children. It's just a behavioral anomaly. It's on the furthest end of the behavioral continuum. And what I mean by that is that prior to this, there had to be other red flags.

Behavioral anomalies that we should have keyed in on to prevent this type of tragedy from happening.

CHURCH: Yes. That is the big problem, isn't it? And of course, we have seen extensive body cam footage of police tracking down and fatally shooting this suspect. Why do police think it's important to share this with the public? And how would you assess the police response in this particular incident?

WACKROW: Well, I think it's really important for the chief of police in Nashville to release this video. Why? Because he wants to show the contrast between what was right and what the proper police response should be for an active shooter situation, as opposed to what we saw in Uvalde, Texas, where we saw law enforcement sitting back and doing nothing while active killing was going on.

We want to show what law enforcement can do with a proper training, tactics and experience to go in address a threat real time and then neutralize that threat to preserve life.

CHURCH: And police say that the suspect was under care for an emotional disorder. But law enforcement was not aware of the specifics there. What needs to be done mode to prevent unstable individuals from legally buying guns? And what can be done at the point of purchase to prevent more mass killings like this? Because that that would be the starting point, along with all other possible solutions. Talk to us about what needs to be done.

WACKROW: Well, listen, I think we're talking about actually purchasing a firearm. We're talking about a point in time, right? And, you know, state by state, there's going to be different regulations. What we have to look at is how do we deal with somebody that has behavioral health issues?


And behavioral health as opposed to mental health is that daily cognitive habit that people have that really affects their overall wellbeing. The family of this individual did know that there were behavioral health issues that were impacting the suspect. What they did with that information, how they shared that with law enforcement and, you know, trusting but also verifying that there were no additional weapons in the house, not taking the person's word for.

We have to do a better job at addressing or one identifying these red flags. But then putting in the right control measures. The mitigation to stop this person from again, going down that continuum of behavior to then get to a point where they transcend into these violent acts.

CHURCH: Yes. Hopefully, something's done because you and I keep talking along with other analysts over and over again in the wake of shootings like this and nothing seems to be getting done. It's very frustrating and upsetting for so many people. Jonathan Wackrow, thank you for joining us.

WACKROW: Thank you so much.

CHURCH: The special counsel investigating the efforts from Donald Trump allies to overturn the 2020 election scored a big win in court on Tuesday. A Washington, D.C. judge ruled Trump's former Vice President Mike Pence must testify. This along with the hush money investigation in Manhattan adds to the growing legal troubles facing Donald Trump.

CNN's Paula Reid has the latest on both cases from New York.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to court sources, the grand jury hearing evidence in the hush money investigation and former President Trump will not hear any more evidence in that case this week, suggesting that prosecutors still believe they have more work to do before bringing this case back before grand jury and before moving on to a possible vote on an indictment.

Now in the ongoing federal investigations, it's bad news for former President Trump as a federal judge has ordered that former Vice President Mike Pence must testify about conversations he had with Trump in the lead up to January 6. The former president had tried to assert executive privilege. But now investigators will be able to get details about conversations between Trump and Pence during what investigators have described as a pressure campaign on the former vice president.

He faced enormous pressure from Trump and his allies not to certify the election results in Biden's favor. There was one particular call that multiple witnesses have testified about on the day of the capital attack where Trump launched a series of insults at his vice president. But a judge also ruled that Pence will not have to testify about anything connected to his official duties as President of the Senate on January 6.

He has tried to assert constitutional protections under the speech or Debate Clause, and the federal judge appears willing to accept that. Now this is yet another victory for special counsel Jack Smith. He's had over a dozen victories as he presses to get testimony from various witnesses and really test the limits of presidential power, vice presidential power, and the separation of powers. Now, Pence can still appeal this ruling. We'll see what happens.

Paula Reid, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: Joining me now from New York is Joey Jackson. A CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Always great to have you with us. JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good to be with you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, a federal judge is now ordering former Vice President Mike Pence to testify to a grand jury investigating former President Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss in those days leading up to January 6. So, could this be a game changer, do you think?

JACKSON: I really think it is. I mean, this is a significant development, right? Let's keep track what happened here. The vice president who had communications with the President of the United States, those communications certainly leading to the state of the mind of the actual president, excuse me, leading up to the insurrection on January 6th, 2021 is now compelled to testify before a grand jury.

A judge having heard and considered evidence and information with respect to the Vice President's claims that he should not testify now must do so. And so, when you have a panel of grand jurors who are considering criminality, as against the president. And let's be clear, grand jury is a panel, it's 23 people, a simple majority of which vote out in indictment. That indictment could be of the president. It could not be.

It could be of other members who were involved. But the fact that that grand jury now would have the ability to hear from the Vice President in his own words, with respect to what if any conversations he had with the President, I think is a game changer indeed.

CHURCH: Right. And what will the Special Counsel likely ask Pence directly? And what questions should be asked


JACKSON: Yes. So, just preceding that. It's of course important to note that the vice president can certainly appeal this, right? There's an appellate court process and that appellate court process could provide for the circuit court, we call that in order to determine whether or not he must be compelled. And who knows, maybe even the Supreme Court will get it. Presuming, however, that there is a continued loss to the Vice President.

I think there are a number of things that the grand jury wants to know. Sir, you had meetings with the President, is that right? Yes. And with respect to those meetings, when did they occur? Who else was in the room? What did the President talk about? Was there specifics as to him overturning the election? Did he ask you about your role, Mr. Vice President? And what you could do and whether or not you could help not certify this election?

Did you have conversations about that? Did he pressure you to do that? What was the nature of the circumstances? Did it occur more than one time? It will be endless, Rosemary, with respect to the specific questions they will ask him, on what occasions he met with the President, what the President said and who if anyone else was in the room leading up to the issue and ultimate conclusion of whether the President tried to circumvent. And otherwise really suppress the democracy in this country, which is not to certify the election and potentially to do a power grab so he could remain president.

CHURCH: And Mike Pence has always said that he should receive immunity from testifying. But the judge didn't buy his whole argument. Why?

JACKSON: Well, I think it's very compelling for one reason, and that is that the -- we should note that a portion of that the judge did buy. And that relates to something called the Speech and Debate Clause. What does that mean? It means that if you are a legislative branch member during the course and in session, you have certain immunities with respect to you not being able really to be held accountable or answerable to anyone else.

Now, you might note, Rosemary, that I said legislative, right? The Vice President of the United States is also the president of the senate and presides over then could preside over the Senate and of course, has the tie breaking vote, which would be the only time you voted. And so, with respect to that Speech and Debate Clause, we should note that the -- of course, the court said, you know what, you could refuse as a relates to that.

I'll tell you why that's not significant. The grand jury is not really concerned about him presiding that day. They're concerned about what led up to and what if anything, Mr. Trump had to say, in other words to reject or deny the certification of those electoral votes such that the President would remain the president and Joe Biden wouldn't be there. And so, on that basis, the federal judge ruled that, you know what, Mr. Vice President as to those questions, you don't need to answer.

But as to everything else, you have no basis. You have no privilege. You released a book on this issue. The Vice President (INAUDIBLE) spoke about issues that he spoke with the President about and there's just no valid claim that he could assert that would prevent him from giving up the goods as to what his conversations were with Donald Trump.

CHURCH: All right. We'll watch to see where it all goes. Joey Jackson, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us.

JACKSON: Pleasure is mine. Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Still to come. A deadly disaster along the Mexico-U.S. border. What we know about the fire at a Migrant Detention Center and the moments leading up to the tragedy.




CHURCH: A vigil was held late Tuesday for the victims of a fire at a Migrant Detention Center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico says it's a tragedy that highlights the importance of fixing a broken migration system.

Mexican officials have revised the death toll from that fire down from 40 lives lost to 38. More than two dozen others were injured. Now there is new video showing the moment the flames and smoke spread through the facility. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the latest. And a warning, his report contains graphic content.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This dramatic video captured what appears to be the beginning of the fire that spread through this Mexican migrant detention facility in Juarez late Monday night. You can see flames and smoke filling the detention area in a matter of seconds. Migrants scrambling for their lives and several Mexican immigration officers walking away from the area while migrants were left locked in the cells.

Eventually thick smoke fills the area making it impossible to see anything else. Outside, witnesses described hearing migrants screaming for help as fires spread through the detention center. Rescue workers responded pulling people from the smoke and flames.

This woman says there was smoke everywhere. Everyone was running for their lives. But all the men were left locked inside and the door to let them out was never open.

Mexico's president says the migrant started the fire when they found out they were being deported. The president says they protested by setting fire to mattresses inside the building where they were being detained. The video from inside the detention center doesn't clearly show how or who started the fire. But several mattresses can be seen on the ground by the steel jail bars.

Mexico's national migration Institute and Attorney General are investigating the cause of the fire as many questions remain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I showed up when the fire had already started just flaming and more than anything the takeaway was the screaming of people still inside.

LAVANDERA (on camera): You don't sound convinced that it was the migrants that started this fire?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Migrants were coming to me and letting me know that they believe that someone else outside the building started the fire. They were locked inside a room which they should have never been locked in.

LAVANDERA (voice over): This woman who cried as her husband was taken away by ambulance said he was grabbed off the street into that Juarez and taken to the migration center.

They grabbed him on the street for no reason. Immigration advocates say this deadly fire fuels concerns along the border as migrants continue to flow through Mexico trying to reach the U.S.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have migrants that are just desperate and frustrated.


CHURCH: CNN's Ed Lavandera with that report.

Still to come. New tension between the leaders of Israel and the U.S. over plans to overhaul the Israeli judiciary. We are live in Tel Aviv.


CHURCH: In France, anger rages on over the government's controversial move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Hundredds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday for another day of nationwide strikes.

In several cities, protesters clashed with police throwing stones and burning garbage.

After a tumultuous three months, the two sides are talking. Negotiators from Israel's ruling coalition and opposition sat down for their first face-to-face meeting over the Prime Minister's attempt to overhaul the judiciary. And more talks will get underway in the hours ahead.


This all comes after Benjamin Netanyahu put the reforms on hold to allow more time for dialogue. And while the protests have yet to let up, they were noticeably smaller on Tuesday. The U.S. President says he hopes Netanyahu abandons the overhaul. Joe Biden was also asked whether the controversy had reached an inflection point.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know they're at an inflection point but I think that's a difficult spot to be in and they've got to work it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you hope the Prime Minister will do on that particular law?

BIDEN: I hope he -- I hope he walks away from it.


CHURCH: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us live now from Tel Aviv. Good to see you, Elizabeth. So, what might a compromise deal on judicial reform look like? And how might all this impact to U.S.-Israel relations going forward?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Rosemary, it's interesting, because Prime Minister Netanyahu is hardly the first person to call for judicial reform. But what he's calling for is very different than the typical call for reform in the past. He wants the Knesset which -- in which he has a very slim majority, to be able to overrule the Supreme Court, which really sets a kilter the checks and balances in this country. Now, as far as what that could mean for relations between the U.S. and Israel.

President Biden, we heard from him as a minute ago, he then went on to say that Israel cannot continue down the road that it's on, which is an incredibly strong and direct thing for U.S. President to say about Israel. He also said that he wants to see genuine compromise. So, let me read from a tweet that the Prime Minister said in response to that, he said, "I have known President Biden for over 40 years, I appreciate his long standing commitment to Israel. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us."

Now, people I'm sure would take issue with saying that this is an occasional disagreement, the way that Biden spoke was not the way that he has spoken on other occasions. He was much more direct. Now, add to all of this Rosemary, at the end of next month, there's going to be a visit from Ron DeSantis. He is the governor of Florida, he is a likely Republican presidential contender. And he has put out a statement saying that these -- the relationships between the two countries are unnecessarily strained. He did not talk about the protests. So, we'll see what effect that might have on the entire situation. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Elizabeth Cohen joining us live from Tel Aviv, many thanks. Taiwan's president is enroute to the United States for a 10- day trip across North and Central America. Before leaving, President Tsai Ing-wen held a news conference at the airport. She says external pressures won't stop Taiwan from moving towards international society. And that a democratic Taiwan will contribute to the wellbeing of the world. The President will also visit Guatemala and Belize before returning home. And still to come, Ukrainian fighters say they have repelled at least two dozen Russian attacks in just the last day or so. The latest on where they say fighting is the heaviest right now.



CHURCH: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to visit Ukraine. In an interview with the Associated, Press Mr. Zelenskyy said he wants to engage directly with Xi who is fresh off a visit to Moscow. He also warned that a Ukrainian defeat in Bakhmut would embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin. And as the battle for Bakhmut grinds on the commander of Ukrainian land forces says, the prolonged fighting is working to their advantage.

He says the goal is to wear down Russian forces and eliminate as many as possible so Ukraine can eventually launch a counter offensive. Russia is bombarding Bakhmut and the nearby city of Avdiivka but has only made minimal gains in recent weeks. The Ukrainian military says the heaviest fighting in the war right now is concentrated in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the East, where they claimed to have repelled at least 24 Russian attacks in the past day or so. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in eastern Ukraine and spoke with several residents who have endured the fighting.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There isn't much to be salvaged from this business in Sloviansk, demolished Monday morning in a Russian strike. Oleg (PH) his wife and some friends are loading up what's left. I'm still in shock, says Oleg. I'm 62 years old and I've invested my heart and soul and money to build it. And now that I'm old, it's been destroyed. The attack killed two people and injured more than 30 that likely target an army recruiting office next door.

In Hospital, one of the victims lies unconscious, A 30-year-old woman, a wall fell on her fracturing her skull and damaging her internal organs. Surgeon Sergei Ocovete (PH) has struggled since the war began trying to mend shattered lives and bodies. Unfortunately, I've had to treat many serious injuries caused by mines and explosions he says. To the south in Krasnotorka, another Russian attack hit just next to this kindergarten, fortunately empty since the war began.

(on camera) Strikes like this happen on a daily basis. This one occurred late on Monday evening. Hours afterwards workers make repairs. This area is regularly hit, they may be back here soon.


(voiceover) Down the road in Konstiantynivka, closer to the front only a few residents remain. 73 Old Tomada (PH) isn't going anywhere putting her faith in a higher power. God protects me she says, God will save me if not, it is what it is. Artem (PH) sells seeds and other supplies to a dwindling community of optimistic gardeners. Everyone is scared he tells me, only idiots aren't, until now I'm here but I evacuated my children. Not all children have left however, one finding solace on a swing amidst the ruins Ben Wedeman, CNN Konstiantynivka.


CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church, for our international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is next and for those of you here in North America, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.