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Anti-Government Protests Reaches Second Day in Jerusalem; Front-Running Presidential Bets Posted Identical Easter Messages; One of the Debris from the Collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge has Removed; Gaza Ceasefire Centers Pope Francis' Easter Message; Turkish Opposition Party Takes Control After the Win at the 2024 Local Elections; Men's NCAA Final Four Cast is All Set This Weekend; Manchester City-Arsenal Match Ends in a Scoreless Draw. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 01, 2024 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN 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, high-level talks between the United States and Israel could begin today in Washington, as the Israeli Prime Minister says his country will go into Rafah despite pressure from the U.S.

While opposite Easter messages from the two men vying for the U.S. presidency, we will look at the rhetoric coming from the Biden and Trump camps.

And the final four is set in men's college basketball. Which teams are headed to the semi-finals this weekend? We'll take a look.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from Atlanta, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. And we begin here in the U.S., where officials tell CNN that high-level talks between US and Israeli officials over Israel's proposed ground offensive in Rafah could take place in the coming hours.

Those talks, originally scheduled for last week, were abruptly called off by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Washington refused to block a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages.

It comes as Mr. Netanyahu said Sunday that pressure from the U.S. will not stop his forces from going into Rafah. He also once again claimed the operation was necessary to defeat Hamas.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will go into Rafah and eliminate Hamas battalions there for one simple reason. There is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating Hamas battalions there.


CHURCH: CNN analyst Barak Rabed says Mr. Netanyahu's continued rhetoric about going ahead with a ground offensive in Rafah, despite concerns from the US, shows he's trying to divert attention from the political problems he's facing back home.


BARAK RABED, CNN POLITICAL AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, the dynamics between Israel and the US is in one word it's good, in two words it's not good. And I think we saw that today and over the last few weeks. And Netanyahu today, I think I don't want to treat the issue of Rafah in a way that doesn't sound serious enough, but you know, let's go over the facts.

This was the fourth time in the last two months that Netanyahu said that he approved the operation in Rafah. Okay.

If you want to go on an operation, you go on an operation. You don't say four times that you approved the operation, but it still hasn't happened. And I think it tells you a lot. And it tells you a lot about, you know, Netanyahu's domestic political problems and how he's trying to divert attention from a lot of other stuff with this shiny object of Rafah.

And you know, he says Rafah and, you know, we're talking about Rafah, but on the ground nothing is happening regarding the operation in Rafah.


CHURCH: The Israel Defense Forces says they have withdrawn from Gaza's largest hospital after a 14-day siege. The IDF says their troops have completed precise operational activity in the area of the Al Shifa Hospital, killed terrorists and located numerous weapons.

But a spokesperson for Gaza's civil defense says the situation is, quote, "very bad and that injured and dead bodies fill the hospital grounds". He also said more than 30 injured people had to be transported to another hospital east of Gaza City.

Meantime, in central Gaza, two people were killed on Sunday in an Israeli drone strike around Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. That's according to the hospital's spokesperson.

And for more, let's go to CNN's Nada Bashir. She joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Nada. So what is the latest from inside Gaza?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Rosemary, you mentioned the situation at Al Shifa Hospital. This is a situation which has been raising concern for weeks now. That siege now coming to an end after 14 days. And we have, over the course of those 14 days, been hearing troubling firsthand accounts from Palestinians trapped inside and around the Al Shifa Hospital. We've heard from medical officials on the ground. We're hearing now from Gaza's civil defense spokesperson saying that Al Shifa can no longer be described as a hospital, that many of the buildings around this large medical complex, what once was Gaza's largest hospital, have now either been completely destroyed or burned down.


And we have seen those dramatic images now coming out of Al Shifa showing the scale of the destruction caused at the hospital following this two-week-long siege. And, of course, we've been hearing those troubling accounts. The Israeli military now also confirming that its troops have withdrawn. Again, they have described this as a precise military operation. They say they were targeting Hamas militants operating in and around the hospital complex. They located weapons and intelligence documents.

And we heard yesterday from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that more than 200 Hamas militants had been killed as part of this operation. And then, of course, the IDF has also repeatedly said that no harm has been caused to civilians or medical officials on the complex.

But important to underscore that CNN cannot independently verify those figures put out by the Israeli military. And, of course, claims that no harm has been caused to any civilians around the complex really stands in contrast to the firsthand accounts we have been hearing over the course of the last two weeks from Palestinians trapped inside the hospital, as well as medical officials.

Now, Gaza's health ministry has said that they believe there are more than 100 patients currently trapped within al-Shifa hospital, who were trapped within Al-Shifa hospital, as well as 60 medical officials. The health ministry believes that some 400 people have been killed over the course of this siege and that more than 1,000 homes were also targeted around the Al-Shifa medical complex.

We have been hearing from medical officials inside the hospital, from doctors inside the hospital, saying they are running out of supplies, they do not have water, they do not have medical equipment to treat those who are wounded, that they haven't been able to move in and around the buildings on the complex in order to treat those wounded for fear of being targeted by snipers around the hospital complex.

And we have also been hearing from civilians who have managed to flee the hospital complex and move southwards, as per the orders of the IDF. Many have reported facing interrogations, being forced to undress, to strip by the IDF.

So really troubling accounts. But of course, we are still now gathering more information as this siege comes to an end. Of course, the full scale of what has happened over the last two weeks, still unclear. CHURCH: Nada Bashir, many thanks for your live report. I Appreciate


Well, anti-government protests rocked Jerusalem for a second straight day on Sunday. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, demanding the release of all remaining Israeli hostages and calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign and hold early elections. CNN's Melissa Bell has more.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the first time since the war began, the protest movement has returned to the streets of Jerusalem, with many thousands coming out to protest the way the government has handled the war so far.

Urgent calls for the remaining more than 130 hostages to be brought home, but also anger at Benjamin Netanyahu and his government and calls for elections to be held. Now, tents have been set up just down there by the Knesset. The protesters intend to keep their pressure up over the coming days.

We heard from the Israeli prime minister himself just ahead of the protest saying that he believed it was his policies that were responsible for bringing half the hostages home so far and doubling down on the idea that he believed that round offensive in Rafah was necessary in order to flush out the remaining Hamas battalions.

But that tonight is not what we've heard from these protesters. A good deal of anger, great calls now that his time in office should end, the changes should be made and that this war should be brought to an end.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Jerusalem.


CHURCH: The Easter Sunday holiday sparked two very different online messages shared by the front-running U.S. presidential candidates.

President Joe Biden wished observers a happy Easter and said, quote, "With wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security and dignity for all".

On the flip side, Donald Trump posted in part, and I'm quoting here, "Happy Easter to all including those many people I completely and totally despise because they want to destroy America". It comes one day after sharing an image of his political opponent, Joe Biden, tied up and bound in the back of a pickup truck.

Trump also ramped up attacks against the judge overseeing his criminal case over alleged hush money payments, posting a link to an article showing his daughter's picture just days after attacking her as a, quote, "rabid Trump hater".

Ron Brownstein is a CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic". He joins me now from Los Angeles. Good to have you with us.



CHURCH: So in what appears to be a new low for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump is lashing out on social media, even posting an image of President Joe Biden hogtied in the back of a pickup truck. What is the impact of an image like this coming as Trump increasingly ramps up violent rhetoric against judges and prosecutors testing the limits of his gag order and also using words like bloodbath when threatening what will happen to this country if he's not elected in November? And are all of these dog whistles to his base, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, look, there are voters out there, Americans out there who are going to hear this in a very specific way, the same way as when he told the Proud Boys in 2020 to stand back and stand by, ultimately translated into January 6th.

There is nothing subtle about the way Donald Trump has encouraged violence as part of his political strategy, really, since his emergence in 2016. You know, you can go back and recall that he offered to pay the legal fees of people who beat up protesters at his rallies all the way back in his first presidential campaign. There is nothing subtle here about what he is doing.

And again, it continues to be striking how few Republicans, excuse me, are willing to speak up and warn, you know, and reflect on the obvious dangers of the leader of their party, the undisputed leader of their party using this kind of language and sending these kinds of signals.

CHURCH: Yeah. And Ron, you just wrote a piece in "The Atlantic" suggesting healthcare in America may turn out to be a major winning issue for Democrats. Why do you say that, given the party's previous efforts to expand health care were met with public and political resistance?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, you know, it was interesting that Joe Biden was on stage with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama this week in New York, raising that 25 million or so. Incredible. Some, like Clinton and Obama, Biden has made expanding access to healthcare a centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda.

Unlike them, he may actually benefit from the backlash against Bill Clinton's Clinton care program, a proposal devised largely by Hillary Clinton.

The backlash against that swept the Republicans to their landslide in 1994, his failure to pass it. The backlash against Barack Obama actually passing the ACA in a very polarized legislative debate helped Republicans win more seats in 2010 in the House than any party out of the White House since 1938.

But when Republicans and Donald Trump tried to repeal the ACA in 2017, the politics flipped. Democrats shifted the focus from the parts of the law that are focused on expanding coverage for those without insurance to the parts of the law that protect people with pre- existing conditions who do have insurance.

And since then, the law has been more popular than not. More Americans have said they want to they want to keep it in place, they want to repeal it. And you have the Republicans continuing to push down the road of repeal, as well as House Republicans talking about idea like converting Medicaid into a block grant and Medicare into a voucher. They are providing Biden a lot of targets to try to win back some of those working class voters who are disenchanted with him largely because of inflation and high prices.

CHURCH: And Ron, what about the controversial issue of abortion rights in America being tested once again before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now considering whether to apply a nationwide ban on the abortion pill Mifepristone. How likely is it that this will ensure abortion becomes one of the critical issues that rallies voters no matter what the court decides in June?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah. Excuse me. The reason that -- that it's so important is because Donald Trump and or and a Republican and Republican administration can do through executive action at the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice everything that the advocates are asking the Supreme Court to do. It does not seem like the Supreme Court is inclined, based on the oral arguments, to go along with the -- with the claims from the opponents that they should roll back the efforts that were taken under both Obama and Biden to make it easier to access Mifepristone.

Trump left all of those rules, the Obama rules, in place while he was president. He didn't act against them. This time, he faces much more pressure within his coalition to use tools at the FDA and even a 19th century law called the Comstock Act through -- through an opinion of the Justice Department to restrict the distribution maybe not only of Mifepristone, but any medical device that is used in abortion.


And so, yeah, this issue is very much going to be on the ballot, not only regardless of what policy Trump pursues in terms of legislation around a nationwide ban on abortion, the administrative executive branch levers that he largely left untouched as president. Again, he is going to face much more pressure within the party to deal with them. And I think Democrats are going to make voters very much aware of that.

CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, always appreciate your political analysis. Thank you so much for joining us.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: I want to bring up some live pictures now and progress to report from Baltimore Harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard says the first pieces of the collapsed bridge have been lifted from the water nearly a week after a container ship crashed into the structure. This is only the beginning, of course, of a long process. CNN's Gloria Pazmino takes a closer look now at the crash site and the magnitude of the task ahead.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you can see we have been able to get extremely up close to the wreckage of the Dali and we're starting to really get an appreciation and a sense of just how massive this job is going to be.

You're looking at 4,000 tons of steel and concrete that are sitting on top of that bow. That is going to be the most complicated part of this operation, moving all of that debris and taking it off the ship so that they can begin this cleanup process.

And then there's everything that's laying below the surface, the part that we can't see. There is more metal, more concrete, more debris in the water.

And that's going to be critical because they have to be able to make that safe for the divers, whose mission is to get back into the water and continue searching to attempt to recover the bodies of those who were lost. But as we're sitting here, you know, now finally being able to really see it and get up close to it, you really just get a sense of the enormity of the job at hand.

But all the officials here have told us that they are confident that they're going to be able to get it done. They're working together, have all of the technology necessary, and they're going step by step, taking a meticulous approach to make sure that they get it right and that eventually they can reopen the port, they can start rebuilding and that this important symbol for the city of Baltimore and the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland can get cleaned up and the people here can start getting back to normal.

I'm Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


CHURCH: Coming up, Ukraine's president says his country will lose ground soon if the U.S. does not send weapons and munitions. More on that warning and what U.S. lawmakers are doing. That's next.




CHURCH: France says it will send hundreds of secondhand armored vehicles to Ukraine. In an interview with French media, the country's minister of armed forces says the vehicles will be old but still functioning. He also says France is preparing to send surface to air missiles to Ukraine, which will provide critical defense against Russian airstrikes. Meanwhile, some $60 billion in U.S. aid for Ukraine has been stalled

in Congress for weeks thanks to deep dysfunction within the Republican Party. But one moderate Republican lawmaker says that may soon be over. Representative Mike Lawler told CNN Sunday that he is optimistic the issue will come up for a vote in the coming days.


REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): I believe there will be a vote when we get back from the Easter recess. Certainly, this is critically important for our allies. We are the leader of the free world and we cannot shirk on our responsibility to -- to uphold and defend democracies across the globe.


CHURCH: But there could still be road bumps before Ukraine gets that aid. Far-right Republican lawmakers are opposing any new money for Kyiv and are threatening to oust the House speaker if he puts the funding up for a vote.

Matthew Schmidt is an associate professor of national security at the University of New Haven and a former professor of strategic and operational planning at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Appreciate you joining us.


CHURCH: So President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is warning that Ukraine will have to cede more territory to Russia if U.S. military aid doesn't come soon, referring, of course, to that multibillion dollar package waiting to be passed by Congress. How much time does Ukraine have before it's forced to cede that land?

SCHMIDT: I think we can see now that it is being forced to -- to give up land. It simply doesn't have the ammunition or the manpower it needs to withstand the Russian offensive going on right now.

It's not a lot of land. It's not strategically critical right now.

But even if that money is turned on tomorrow, it will take some time for the arms to get into theater and make an effect.

CHURCH: And all of this comes as U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson is indicating an openness to support a separate bipartisan plan in the House and has told GOP lawmakers he may schedule floor time after the Easter recess. But is it getting too late for this, given NATO is also yet to offer Ukraine a greater commitment to its defense against Russia?

SCHMIDT: I think you hit the nail on the head, Rosemary. The key here is for NATO to signal to Ukraine that it is committed to defending territorial lines as they are or as they were. And we just don't see NATO doing that yet. As far as the USAID goes, I don't think we can read too much into the

fact that Johnson has said he might put a bill on the floor after Easter.


He's going to, in any case, put a bill on the floor that's going to ask Democrats to cut spending somewhere else. And that's going to mean that anything that does pass is likely going to be well short of the 61 billion that the administration has asked for.

CHURCH: And what would force both parties, Russia and Ukraine, to the negotiating table right now with the Ukraine desperate for military aid and Russia lacking quality manpower and what might that negotiation look like?

SCHMIDT: Russia is facing a bottleneck in its production of equipment and ammunition in 2025. It really, really wants to be able to put this to bed now in 2024. Ukraine is looking to survive until 2025. So this is the critical 12 to 24 months for both sides.

I think in terms of a negotiation, the likely outcome here is that Ukraine will refuse to give up legal right to any of its territory, especially Crimea, but will seek to freeze the conflict and then come back 10, 20 years later and pull that territory and those populations back under its fault.

CHURCH: And let's look deeper into that. Where do you see this war going throughout 2024 and into 2025 and do you see an end point here?

SCHMIDT: I think on the Russian side, Putin is going to try to push an offensive any way that he can.

If he's able to do that, it's going to be messy and bumbling because he is short of quality manpower. He's short of equipment and ammunition right now. Also, Ukraine is trying to make up for lost time in building secondary defenses to stop a Russian offense from going more than a few kilometers past their current line of contact.

And so I think you're probably going to see each side bludgeoning it out wherever those lines are, somewhere in a 20 kilometer range of where we're at right now and waiting to see really how the U.S. presidential election comes out.

CHURCH: In the end, though, it looks like Russia has the time to wait this out. You can't say the same for Ukraine, though, can you?

SCHMIDT: You can't if NATO doesn't give it promises of defense, right, of commitment to protecting whatever lines are drawn out in a negotiation.

In the end, Ukraine will win this war. In the end, Ukraine already has won this war. It's a question of if it can win it in the next two years or if it's going to take 20 years to finally essentially liberate the Russians from Putin. And that's really the challenge for Ukraine here. But Ukraine has won. It's not going to ever come under Russian control in the way that Putin wanted it to.

CHURCH: Matthew Schmidt, appreciate you joining us. Many thanks.

SCHMIDT: My pleasure.

CHURCH: Still to come, Israeli forces withdraw from Gaza's largest hospital after a two-week siege. What officials in Gaza are saying about the devastation left behind.

Plus, Pope Francis and a police fire in Gaza. More on his Easter message after a short break.




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Returning to one of our top stories this hour, the Israel Defense Forces says it has withdrawn from Gaza's largest hospital after a 14-day siege. The IDF says troops killed terrorists and located numerous weapons and intelligence documents, but eyewitnesses and officials describe the widespread devastation left behind.

A journalist working for CNN says, quote, "it feels like a horror movie". He says many families are looking for their loved ones and cannot find them, while the people who remain alive are malnourished.

Pope Francis called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during his address on Easter Sunday. He presided over Easter Mass in St. Peter's Basilica after a week of events around the religious holiday. CNN's Christopher Lamb has more now from London.


CHRISTOPHER LAMB, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Following concerns about his health, Pope Francis presided at Easter Sunday Mass and given his Easter Sunday message from St. Peter's in the Vatican.

Francis has been battling bouts of ill health recently and on Good Friday pulled out of a service in order to what the Vatican said was to preserve his health.

On the Easter Sunday message, Pope Francis addressed various conflicts going on in the world and reiterated his call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Here's what he had to say.

POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I appeal once again that access to humanitarian aid be ensured to Gaza and call once more for the prompt release of the hostages seized on the 7th of October and for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip. LAMB: During Holy Week and in the run-up to Easter, Pope Francis

presided at five major liturgies. On Thursday, he went to a female prison in Rome and washed the feet of 12 women prisoners. On the Saturday before Easter, he celebrated the Easter Vigil, a service of more than two-hours long.

Following the Mass on Easter Sunday, he toured St. Peter's Square on his Popemobile, greeting the pilgrims who had gathered, many thousands who were there and seemed in good spirits. Pope Francis is 87 years old and despite his age and his health, has insisted that he will continue in the post of Pope and is refusing to consider resignation.

Christopher Lamb, CNN.


CHURCH: The people of Turkey delivered President Erdogan and his political party their biggest ever electoral blow on Sunday. In nationwide municipal elections, voters reinforced the power of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and his opposition party as a strengthening political force. In addition to holding onto Istanbul, Imamoglu's Republican People's Party gained mayoral seats in 15 other cities.

The outcome of the election marks a dramatic defeat for President Erdogan and his A.K. party after two decades in power. The longtime leader acknowledged the losses, saying his party did not get the result it hoped for but that it will respect the wishes of the Turkish people. Our Scott McLean is following developments from Istanbul.



SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If local elections in Turkey were a referendum on the ruling government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then voters have very clearly sent a message that they are not happy. Not only has Erdogan's AK party failed to win back major cities in this country, but it appears that they are on track to also lose some areas that had been considered strongholds.

And perhaps the biggest blow of the night is right here in Istanbul, where people have come to celebrate the win of the incumbent mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, a man who is widely considered to be one of the very few, perhaps the only, opposition figure with the popularity and the strength to take on Erdogan in a general election.

And not only has Imamoglu won re-election, but it appears that he's won it with a very comfortable margin. His party has even taken the district in Istanbul where Erdogan himself was born and raised.

And Erdogan personally injected himself into this race. His face is on banners and billboards. He's been here for rallies as well, but also hanging over the country at the time in the dire situation of the economy, where inflation is out of control, interest rates have hit 50 percent, and people are really feeling it in their wallets. Now President Erdogan is constitutionally barred from running for

another term in office, but there are some loopholes which could allow him to run one more time. And if he does, he will now surely have a very formidable opponent in the re-elected mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu.

Scott McLean, CNN, Istanbul.


CHURCH: What was supposed to be a fun Saturday night out turned into a blood-soaked nightmare for several children in Indianapolis. We will have a report on that.



CHURCH: Another weekend in America marred by gun violence. On Saturday, at least seven children between the ages of 12 and 17 were shot in Indiana's capital.

All the victims are in stable condition and police are still working to identify a suspect. This marks the third weekend in a row that Indianapolis has been rocked by a mass shooting. CNN's Ivan Rodriguez has more.


IVAN RODRIGUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indianapolis police say they rushed to the scene and found a large group of children, six of them with gunshot wounds. A seventh juvenile who also sustained gunshot wounds arrived at an area hospital later.

Right now, all of them are recovering from their injuries. Police have yet to make any arrests. Now, we want to show you this map showing the locations and dates of all the recent mass shootings in Indianapolis. All of the shootings happened within 25 minutes distance of each other, although they're not believed to be connected.

On March 16th, a nightclub shooting left one person dead and five others injured. The following weekend, one person was killed and five others, including an off-duty Indianapolis Metro police officer, were injured after a shooting outside a bar early Sunday, March 24th.

And violence flared Saturday night downtown in an incident involving a large group of young people and multiple firearms.

Police officials say more than 25 officers were patrolling the area Saturday to prevent this type of gun violence from breaking out, but it happened anyway.

And they warn disputes like this should never lead to guns violence.

TANYA TERRY, DEPUTY CHIEF, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE: Downtown Commander Burton has already changed resources and directed resources to try to address these juvenile crowds before they get started, and having officers that come in earlier even to try to address that and stay on top of it. So, absolutely, all of our resources are going to be directed at preventing this kind of crime.

CHRIS BAILEY, CHIEF, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE: It starts at home. That's the first place. You can look to the police all you want to try to solve these things. And like the chief said, we have plenty of resources in downtown Indianapolis on the weekends to deal with our issues, and yet this occurred.

And so, we're all going to have to, like I said, take a look in the mirror and find out what more we can do as a community.

TERRY: It's extremely concerning to the mindset of some of our community members, especially some of our young community members. Once again, and I know you guys have heard Chief Bailey talk about it, conflict should not lead to somebody pulling out a gun and trying to resolve it. The consequences are eternal, okay? We've got to learn how to talk to each other. We've got to learn how to resolve conflict in different ways. And when there's a bold disrespect for law enforcement authority and the laws of our society, it's a problem that's bigger than the police.

RODRIGUEZ: Deputy Chief Tanya Terry also says police believe multiple firearms were involved, but it's unclear what led to the shooting or how many people opened fire. Although they didn't provide information on the nature of the gathering, police have noticed large crowds of young people moving around the downtown area.

Ivan Rodriguez, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: In the state of Tennessee, police have identified a suspect in connection with a deadly Easter brunch shooting. One person was killed and at least seven others wounded at a Nashville restaurant on Sunday.

Police believe it happened after an argument between two men. The suspect has been identified as 46-year-old Anton Rucker. Police say he has past convictions for aggravated assault and drug charges. They don't believe the suspect and victim knew each other.

Thirty years into its young democracy, South Africa is struggling with a crime wave it can't seem to control. Violent, brazen attacks and heists which should be handled by police are instead turned over to private security patrols because police corruption is rampant as well.

CNN's David McKenzie rode along with a security guard in the middle of a pursuit and spoke with both a victim of crime and an admitted criminal about the lawlessness gripping the country.


ANTON KOEN, CEO, NOJACK: This was a vehicle that was triggered by the license plate recognition system. We need to be on top of the vehicle as soon as we or as fast as we possibly can. MCKENZIE: So Anton is chasing a hijacked vehicle. This happens all the time in South Africa. They're in touch with private security groups throughout this eastern part of Johannesburg. And one thing you don't hear anything about is the police.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Police can't cope, underfunded and struggling with corruption.

Dash cam footage shows the criminal gangs private security are often up against. In South Africa, more than 20,000 vehicles were hijacked last year.


Murders are at a 20-year high.

Cash-in-transit heists are now commonplace. Armored vehicles targeted in broad daylight by heavily armed gangs. This heist on a major Joburg highway in October.

MCKENZIE: Was it difficult to get a gun?

UNKNOWN: No, it's not difficult.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We met a cash-in-transit criminal who claims he's gotten out of the game. We agreed to hide his identity so he would talk freely.

UNKNOWN: People who are angry with the level of crime, they will never sleep with their stomach empty. Those are the people who are crying with crime.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): He says around a dozen gang members target the vehicles. Often with insider intelligence, they have spotters, drivers and shooters splitting the cash evenly.

MCKENZIE: Did you ever kill anyone?

UNKNOWN: Yes. No, it's bad. I feel bad about it. Some of them, you go and you want to rob, they do not surrender. They want to become heroes.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): But father of four T.T. Ngwenya says he never wanted to be a hero. He just wanted to put food on the table.

T.T. NGWENYA, FORMER CASH-IN-TRANSIT GUARD: Yes, I needed the money. You must take out that you are going to be killed because you will never work for your children.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): He always knew they would be hit. And in May 2021, they were.

The dashcam video shows the gang working quickly, efficiently even. They made Ngwenya and the other guards lie in the grass. When they blew off the roof, it crushed his legs. NGWENYA: The big thing to me, I'm no longer able to stand. I'm no

longer working as the way I was before I joined that job. And I always feel pain. I'm short with some pills, you see, and I'm a fighter.

KOEN: Seems like the value of life has actually means nothing to a lot of people anymore. I think at the moment, our crime is out of control. Our crime is really not in control. We're having a hard time fighting crime.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): South Africa is losing the war against crime. The promise of its democracy hijacked by corruption, desperation and greed.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


CHURCH: And we'll be right back.




CHURCH: Breaking news coming into CNN. Crews are preparing to open an alternate channel near Baltimore's key bridge for commercially essential vessels in the area. We are taking these live pictures right now.

And this is the bridge that collapsed when a cargo vessel crashed into it about a week ago. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it could take weeks for the port of Baltimore to reopen as crews clear the massive wreckage, leaving commuters and workers in limbo and supply chains in disarray. And we will have more on this coming up in the next hour of "CNN Newsroom".

In U.S. college basketball's March Madness, the men's final four is set. The top-ranked Purdue Boilermakers defeated No. 2 Tennessee 72-66 in the Elite Eight. Purdue is advancing to its first final four since 1980. And North Carolina State continues its Cinderella run after upsetting Duke 76-64.

Here's how the semifinals will be played. Saturday, UConn and Alabama going head-to-head and the Boilermakers facing off with the Wolfpack.

A frustrating day on the pitch for Manchester City in the English Premier League. Arsenal held them to a scoreless draw, leaving Liverpool atop the table. Here's Patrick Snell.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, it was Liverpool, the big winners, in more ways than one on Easter Sunday after the title- chasing Reds beat Brighton in a vital match at Anfield, as their two big rivals in this enthralling race to be crowned champions of England took points off each other in a goalless draw at the Etihad.

By the time Man City and Arsenal took to the field to play, they knew Liverpool had already bagged all three points. City going close in the first half of this game when their Dutch defender, Nathan Ackie, had getting on the end of a Kevin De Bruyne corner and he can't get a proper connection on it from close range there.

After the break, it'll be former City player Gabriel Jesus who had the home fans concerned as he just failed to connect with the Bacayo soccer cross.

And a strange one very near the end as City's Erling Haaland looks like he's in a great position to score, but somehow totally failing to make any sort of meaningful contact. Kind of summed up the game really.

Both Spanish head coaches left to ponder a goalless draw at the full- time whistle. City had scored in 47 consecutive home league fixtures before this Sunday, but no breaking down the Gunners here.

MIKEL ARTETA, ARSENAL MANAGER: The commitment of all the players and the discipline that they have in all the defensive parts, when we're really high on the pitch and trying to win the ball, we won the ball a lot. And then when they break that pressure, the way you have to track back and they stay in deep and they start to move their structure, you have to be really patient that and no rush and you have to defend the box really well. I think it's 2021, the last time that they haven't scored.


ARTETA: So that's three years. So that's the difficulty of it.

PEP GUARDIOLA, MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER: Still nine games. And yeah, we'll see. So when is there another one? And we'll see what happens.

SNELL: Well, earlier on Sunday, Liverpool doing their part by beating Brighton, but the home fans initially in shock. The Reds behind after 85 seconds. Danny Welbeck with a wonderful strike right in front of the Kop. The hosts predictably hitting back and it's their Colombian forward Luis Diaz reacting quickest to bring relief to the Anfield faithful. He levels just shy of the half hour mark. Liverpool with all the momentum at this point and it's no surprise when they get the winner.


Really exquisite, cool as you like finish from Egyptian star Mo Salah for 2-1 Liverpool. Very important win for the Reds.

Three priceless points, but Brighton made them work for it so much at stake. Reds' boss Jurgen Klopp trying to keep everything in perspective.

JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL MANAGER: It will be tough. And yes, it's sometimes nerve wracking and it will be hard. It will be at 180, 200, whatever from time to time. If you watch it, if you play it. But if we all together enjoy this, we have a chance. If we don't, we still have a chance. It's just really much more difficult.

And that's why we try to stay positive in all these moments. It's a great situation where the boys brought us in. We are there. I don't even know exactly the points, but another three. So we are there, up with two other teams fighting for the biggest prize in English football and we will see how it will end up. But I decided I will really try hard to enjoy it.

SNELL: Klopp will be a very happy man after Sunday's results. Frustrations for Pep Guardiola's side who haven't been involved in a goal less match since October of 2022. Liverpool lead the way by two points from the Gunners. And importantly, they're now three points clear of third-placed City. There is still so much to play for. All three title rivals have nine fixtures left.

We'll be across it all for you on CNN's "World Sport". For now, though, it's right back to you.


CHURCH: In the Women's League Cup final, Tempest fled in a big win for Arsenal. During the match, there was this confrontation between Chelsea's Scottish international Erin Cuthbert and Arsenal's Swedish manager Jonas Eidevall. Then, when the final whistle blew, instead of a handshake, Chelsea boss Emma Hayes shoved Arsenal's manager. Hayes is leaving Chelsea at the end of the season to manage the U.S. women's national team.

I want to thank you for spending part of your day with me. I'm Rosemary Church. "CNN Newsroom" continues next with Max Foster.