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CNN This Morning

5 Dead, 25+ Hurt after Shooter Opens Fire at LGBTQ Nightclub; Club Shooting Survivor: This Was 'Our Only Safe Space'; Bob Iger Returns to Run Disney; NBA Returns from Suspension after Anti-Semitic Film Firestorm; Western New York Gets 6 Feet of Snow in Historic Storm; Thanksgiving Travel Expected to Be Near Pre-Pandemic Levels. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 06:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Monday, November 21, and we have lots of news, sad news, as a matter of fact.


In what was supposed to be a safe haven, five people were killed, 25 others injured, in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. We're going to be live there for you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also, over the weekend, Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving is back from an eight-game suspension and delivering an apology before taking to the court.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And a sudden and stunning shakeup at Disney overnight, Bob Iger is back at the helm after less than a year in retirement. Can the man who built the media empire now resurrect it?

LEMON: But first, another mass shooting, another candlelight vigil, another makeshift memorial. Gun violence tearing at the soul of America again, this time in Colorado Springs, where five people were murdered over the weekend in an LBGTQ nightclub.

One person describing Club Q as the only safe haven in the city for the LGBTQ community. A 22-year-old suspect is now in custody. The club's owner said that he was heavily armed and waring a military- style flak jacket when he entered the building with, quote, "tremendous fire power," and that he was taken down by two customers.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Colorado Springs for CNN this morning.

Rosa, good morning to you. What do we know about the survivors and the investigation?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, good morning.

You know, you were talking just moments ago about the shooter. Here's what we know about him. He's been identified by police -- and this is the alleged shooter -- as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. According to police, he was subdued by one or two individuals inside

Club Q. Shortly thereafter he was taken into custody, and he was transported to the hospital. No charges have been filed at this point in time.

As for his background, it is believed that he is the same individual who was arrested after a bomb threat in 2021.


FLORES (voice-over): Colorado Springs grieving after police say a gunman stormed one of the only LGBTQ clubs in the community.

CHIEF ADRIAN VASQUEZ, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE: The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this was a hate crime is part of that investigation.

FLORES (voice-over): The club writing in a statement, "Club Q is in shock and in deep mourning. We condemn the horrific violence that shattered an evening of celebration for all in the LGBTQ community of Colorado Springs and our allies."

The shooting lasted only minutes, with police detaining the suspect shortly after the first 911 call.

Police have identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. Police say he entered the club just before midnight on Saturday and began shooting immediately with a long rifle. Two weapons were found at the scene.

MAYOR JOHN SUTHERS (R), COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO (via phone): At least one, possibly two, heroic individuals who subdued this guy, appears to have taken his handgun -- He had a handgun with him -- and used it to disable him. But for that, as tragic as this incident is, it's a horrible crime. It could have been much, much worse.

FLORES (voice-over): And now, more details are emerging about the suspected shooter, including a 2021 arrest for felony menacing and first degree kidnapping, according to a news release at the time, after his mother says he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): This is an act of evil, a horrific act. Colorado is strong. We're resilient. But this is a great time of need for so many people who are directly affected by this.

FLORES (voice-over): The shooting has left the LGBTQ community here devastated.

LEIA-JHENE SEALS, PERFORMED AT CLUB Q ON NIGHT OF SHOOTING: For a lot of people like myself, we don't have families. So LGBTQ people really need somewhere that is a safe space, and Club Q gave that to us.

JOSEPH SHELTON, FRIEND WAS INJURED IN SHOOTING AT CLUB Q: My hope is that we -- we do -- we come out strong from this. You know, we show the communities that don't want LGBT people to be out and about, we show them that we are here. We are -- we aren't going and hiding in a hole. We are staying strong, and we are continuing to fight for -- we don't give up.


FLORES: Now, authorities here have not released the names of the victims, but the parents of one of the victims telling "The Denver Post" that their son died.

Take a look at his picture. This is Daniel Aston. Again, this is his parents telling "The Denver Post" that he died, that he was a bartender at Club Q, that he had moved to this area to be closer to his parents.

Now, as for the motive, Don, investigators are not sharing what they do know, but the district attorney did say yesterday during a press conference that this is being investigated through the lens of a hate crime.

The D.A. also saying that he's working with the U.S. attorney's office, that the FBI is investigating. The point here being that, whether it's state charges or federal charges, it's about finding justice for the victims -- Don.


LEMON: Rosa Flores, thank you very much for that -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: One survivor, Joshua Thurman, has been part of the Club Q community for more than a decade. He survived Saturday's shooting by hiding in a dressing room, where he turned off all the lights. Here's what he told our local affiliate, KRDO.


JOSHUA THURMAN, SURVIVOR OF CLUB Q SHOOTING: As I was dancing on the dance floor, I heard shots fired. I thought it was the music, because there was no screams. There was no, "Help, help," nothing like that.

Then there were more shots. When I realized what was going on. I ran to the dressing room immediately. There was a customer that followed me, and there was a drag performer, Del Lusional, who was in the dressing room.

I made them lock the doors, and we got down on the ground and cut off the lights immediately.

We heard everything. We heard more shots fired. We heard the assailant being beat up by someone that I assume that tackled him. We heard the police come in. We heard them yelling at him. We heard them saying, take certain people because they're critical. We -- we heard everything.

And all I could think about is, everything. My life. Just everything. Friends, family, loved ones.

I came here to celebrate my birthday. Honestly, I was supposed to be in Denver. But I came back a day early. And I -- I just -- it's sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joshua, what does this mean for the LGBTQ community here in Colorado Springs, this shooting?

THURMAN: It's hard to say. It means so much, because this is our only safe space here in the Springs. And so, for this to get shot up, like what are we going to do now? Where are we going to go?

Yes, we can rebuild and come together in this, but what about those people that lost their lives for no reason? Like the 18 -- other 18 that were injured? I could have been one of them.

Like, it's -- it means a lot because again what are we going to do now? How are we going to feel safe in our -- in our city?


COLLINS: Joshua said he was there to celebrate his birthday.

Ahead on CNN this morning, we are going to speak with a bartender at Club Q who stared down the barrel of the gun during that shooting. We'll also speak with Colorado's attorney general, Phil Weiser, with questions about where the investigation stands this Monday morning.

HARLOW: Also, just a stunning development in the business world overnight. Bob Iger is back at the top of Disney, just two years after retiring from a legendary run. He replaces his own successor, Bob Chapek, after the company suffered a disappointing earnings last quarter.

And that's not it. Chapek has had a rocky tenure. It has included very public battles with Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, the most public involving the state's controversial bill restricting LGBTQ topics in the classroom.

Chapek was heavily criticized for not coming out forcefully and immediately against it, like Iger did, actually. Iger spoke with our own Chris Wallace about this all a few months ago. Listen.


BOB IGER, RETURNING TO LEAD DISNEY: A lot of these issues are not necessarily political. It's about right and wrong. So I happen to feel -- and I tweeted an opinion about this "don't say gay" bill in Florida. To me, it wasn't politics. It is what is right and what is wrong. And that just seemed wrong. It seemed potentially harmful to kids.


HARLOW: Listen also to how Iger responded earlier this year when our friend and tech journalist Kara Swisher asked him about, by the way, what just happened, about potentially coming back. Here they were.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KARA SWISHER, TECH JOURNALIST: But one of the things that CNBC polled ten media executives anonymously about their 2022 predictions, and one was that you'll return to Disney.

IGER: As -- as what?

SWISHER: I don't know. A Mickey Mouse character.

IGER: Yes.

SWISHER: There are rumors that you could become Disney's CEO again.

IGER: That's ridiculous.

SWISHER: Ridiculous?

IGER: I was CEO for a long time. You can't go home again. I'm gone.

SWISHER: Really? It's happened before. Starbucks.

IGER: I gave my I.D. up, my name tag up.


IGER: My office, my email address. It's all gone. I think if I wanted to run a company, I'd still be running Disney. No, I did that.


HARLOW: Now he is. Joining us now, CNN media analyst, Sara Fischer. It's great to have you. I was reading through your reporting this morning.

Chapek's had a rocky run, but the fact that Iger is coming back in to help Disney, really get it off its knees. They face so many troubles. Tell us what you know.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I think these two have had a rocky relationship the last two years. A report came out in "The New York Times" that sort of asserted that Bob Iger wanted to come back and bring more control to the company amid the coronavirus pandemic. I think it was hard for the two executives to be on the same page ever since.


But Poppy, what this really suggests to me is a weakness on the side of the Disney board. Bob Iger had 15 years as CEO to choose a successor, to groom him so that Wall Street would take a liking to him.

And now, him coming back -- Bob Chapek didn't even get a proper good- bye -- to do that process all over again and choose another successor is pretty outstanding to me, especially given the fact that Bob Chapek's contract was voted unanimously on by the board to be extended for another three years just a few months ago in June. FISCHER: I think -- I remember Bob's book just a few years ago and he

wrote in it, the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

And that example of how to deal with the -- DeSantis, the bill in Florida, right, Chapek waffled for a long time, and employees got so mad, and they left, and they walked out.

And Iger right away said, no, this is wrong. This isn't politics. Is that emblematic of his leadership versus Chapek's, just big picture?

FISCHER: I think so. And I think you're pointing to one of the most contentious points between the two.

At the time, Bob Iger -- you played that great interview with Chris Wallace on CNN -- said that that is something he full-throatedly disagreed with. And Disney's leadership under Chapek was still waffling, which put them at odds publicly.

And so I think that, yes, Bob Iger was definitely a more decisive leader. I think he was much more in tune to the culture at Disney. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Chapek had been completely failing over the past two years.

In fact, Disney had grown at one point to have its subscriber base surpass Netflix's. And while they had a bad quarter, Poppy, the trend lines had not been anything new.

Yes, streaming losses had been mounting, and Wall Street was growing frustrated with it. But it's not like this is something that just happened out of the blue.

These are trend lines that have been happening for the past few years. And to me, I'm sort of shocked that this replacement is happening so quickly after Chapek's contract was just renewed.

LEMON: Sara, there's always what's being reported and what we hear about in the press. But there's behind the scenes. Is there something behind the scenes that we don't know about?

FISCHER: There's sort of two things happening. One is that a bunch of activists and investors are starting to mount bigger positions within Disney. Nelson Peltz, Dan Loeb.

The Dan Loeb fight got very public when he tried to pressure Disney's board to, you know, maybe come up with new leadership but also to possibly spin out ESPN Plus.

And Bob Chapek was able to stave that off. But new reporting from "The Wall Street Journal" about a different activist investor staking a big stake in Disney could put more pressure on the company at this critical time.

And then, of course, Don, what I was just noting before. The tensions between these two executives behind the scenes, sources told me, was palpable. You know, it's not like there was one big, blow-up fight, but they just weren't communicating. And of course, Iger was not publicly endorsing Chapek's strategy all

that much.

HARLOW: Sara Fischer, thanks very much for being with us.

LEMON: So another story that everyone -- thank you Sara -- that everyone is talking about, and that is NBA star Kyrie Irving. He's back on the court.

So there you see him there, Irving suited up with the Brooklyn Nets last night, following an eight-game suspension after he tweeted a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic messages. He has since apologized.

So straight now to CNN's Carolyn Manno. Good morning.

So Carolyn, did it has to take so much rigamarole about this?


LEMON: It took a long time.

MANNO: Yes, it took a lot longer than all sides would have wanted, I think Kyrie Irving included. But I think this is the resolution that everybody was openly hoping for. I mean, this has been three weeks at this point.

But the Nets saved face a little bit by, you know, making Kyrie go through the motions. We've seen examples in sports in the past where, OK, it's a five-game suspension. You serve the five days, and you're done.

And I didn't know that it would necessarily go past that. But you know, this went to eight games, making him meet with thought leaders in the Jewish community, the Anti-Defamation League meeting with commissioner Adam Silver, who's Jewish.

You know, he was thoughtful in his apology that we finally got, in front of the camera, from him, saying sorry over the weekend. I'll just play that for you, in case you missed it. You can take a quick listen.


KYRIE IRVING, GUARD, BROOKLYN NETS: I don't have hate in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone that identifies as a Jew. I'm not anti- Jewish or any of that. I'm a person that believes that we all should have equal opportunities and that we should all shower each other with love. And that should be at the forefront.

But it wasn't in that initial conversation, and I take my accountability. And I want to apologize for that, because it came off the wrong way completely.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MANNO: He echoed that before and after the game, as well. But just wanted to get back onto the court. And the Nets certainly need him back.

But this is the issue that we've talking about with idolatry, especially as it relates to professional athletes. They're humans. They're deeply flawed. He dug his heels in. It took a lot longer than many people would have liked to come back around and say, You know what? I screwed up.

But now that he has, hopefully, everybody can move forward.


COLLINS: Well, and do you get the sense now, because you know, what had been the criticism before was his -- his platform and the weight of his words. Do you think he understands, at least as he's saying that he understands now, what kind of platform he does have and how troubling it is when he does make those kinds of comments?

MANNO: He said that that was the biggest lesson learned, is the power of the platform. You know, whether that's the lesson that everybody wants him to take away. Again, you can't project how you want somebody to interpret everything that he's been through over the last couple of weeks.

But I think he does have an understanding of the weight of his words and how they can galvanize groups and affect people. And hopefully, at the end of this, if he's come away with just that, just the knowledge that I need to be a little bit more careful, regardless of what I believe and how it could impact somebody else, you know, that that's important.

LEMON: Yes. And a lot of support in that arena last night.

MANNO: Yes. A very warm welcome.

LEMON: We'll discuss that in the coming hours. Thank you very much, Carolyn. We appreciate that.

Next, we're going to take you live to Buffalo, New York, where people are waking up to another morning of mounting snow.

COLLINS: And Elon Musk making the decision over the weekend to reinstate former President Trump on Twitter. There are questions, though, about when and if the former president will return. We'll talk about that next.

LEMON: Oh, boy. Here we go.

HARLOW: Think he'll tweet?

LEMON: I don't know.



COLLINS: If you're waking up in Western New York this morning, you might have a herculean task ahead of you after a record-setting snowstorm over the weekend.

Some areas getting six feet of snow, as Erie County, which includes Buffalo, recorded the largest ever snowfall in a 24-hour period on Saturday. This is what Bills Stadium in Orchard Park looked like, blanketed in several feet of snow. The team sharing this video on social media as their scheduled home game was played Sunday.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Buffalo.

Polo, I know there's 60,000 Bills fans who bought tickets to that game in Detroit. Was it more about the game or they just wanted to get away from that snow that you're standing in there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you know, hopefully, that victory from yesterday from the Buffalo Bills will help motivate some of the Buffalo residents to take on that Herculean task you just mentioned a while ago, about 6.5 feet of snow in some parts of area here in Southern Buffalo a little bit under that.

They've done some significant progress, together with the city and county, to clear the streets and highways. And so that you'll see all over Buffalo are these massive piles of snow.

But this has to go. You see, this is that wet, heavy snow that can't just be left here to melt. So what the city is doing, they're literally trucking this snow by the ton. And they're taking it to certain city-run locations where it will sit there for months, potentially not melting until June, according to one city official.

But as you can see here, there are still residential neighborhoods that are still under significant snow levels. Many people have been working all weekend to dig themselves out.

And really, the focus right now is travel bans, and advisories are still in place, is on cleanup. And that's why even Buffalo public schools cancelled classes today, asking folks to simply stay home and stay safe as they continue to dig out of this historic snowfall throughout Western New York, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Polo, I know it's cold there this morning. Thank you for that. Good luck to everyone who is there digging out of that snow as they wake up today.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, Kaitlan.

HARLOW: All right. Thanksgiving travel is projected to be the biggest, and therefore, the most stressful, it has been in years. Triple "A" is forecasting numbers just shy of pre-pandemic levels.

Let's go to Pete Muntean. He joins us live from Reagan National.

We're flying on Thanksgiving. I find it's a little bit better than the days leading up, right?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a good call, Poppy.

You know, 54 million people in total over the next five days according to Triple "A," will travel 50 miles or more. TSA anticipates 2.5 million people screened at airports nationwide tomorrow. Just starting to get ramped up here at Reagan National Airport.

All of these people equate to a lot of stress when it comes to the travel experience. So we reached out to the best experts on this topic to try and make your trip a little bit smoother.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Travel tips you might not know about. Let's go!

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Travel hacks are going viral ahead of this Thanksgiving rush --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's a flight hack that you didn't know.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): -- with Triple "A" projecting more than 54 million people traveling 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday. So we turned to a trio of travel experts for the best advice to make your trip smoother.

One of the biggest tips: ditch that checked bag and bring only a carry-on. This summer, when airlines canceled 55,000 flights, passengers flooded the federal government with lost luggage complaints.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your flight gets cancelled or you miss a connection, it's far easier to get put on a new plane and be nimble if you don't have a checked bag that they have to go find and -- and move to a new flight.

MUNTEAN: A lot of airlines these days will allow you to track your checked luggage on their app. But TikTokers came up with this idea. Take a tracker like this Apple air tag, and drop it in your bag.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): We put it to the test, tracking my bag as it snaked through Reagan National Airport into the plane and out at baggage claim in Charlotte.

MUNTEAN: Major bag alert. Made it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is one of the best viral tips to happen in -- in years.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Still, most Americans will drive this holiday. Triple "A" says it's best to drive when everybody else isn't. The worst times, on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On I-85 in Atlanta, congestion could be more than twice the norm. Coming home again on Sunday, try to avoid driving from 4 p.m. until 8. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The key is to be conscious of leaving at a

reasonable time where you know traffic should be a little bit better. It's not going to be light. It's not going to be great, but it should be better.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Beyond traffic, one of the top concerns for drivers is the cost of gas. But Patrick De Haan of Gas Buddy says a little bit of planning goes a long way, with prices an average 35 cents higher than a year ago.

Simply crossing the border from Arizona into California, gas prices can spike by more than a dollar a gallon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If motorists are taking to the road for road trips, I still would advise them to shop around. They could be leaving low gas prices behind, or the low gas prices could be on the road in front of them.


MUNTEAN: One more warning about driving, especially if you're coming to the airport. Airports are worried that parking spots will begin running low.

The problem is that during the pandemic, many people just got used to driving to the airport instead of taking public transit. The big tip here is you can reserve your spot at many airports online ahead of time.

But the biggest tip we heard from all of our experts, simply be patient. Besides these numbers being the highest of the pandemic, these are the highest numbers we have seen in the last 20 years. The third biggest of the last 20 years, Poppy.

HARLOW: We forgot to reserve our parking last time at LaGuardia. It's, like, a whole thing now. And it was not fun with two little kids and five million suitcases.


HARLOW: So do that. And Don wants to know if you have any good news.

LEMON: You are the grinch that stole -- that stole Thanksgiving at this point.

HARLOW: He's like murmuring over here.

MUNTEAN: It's going to be pretty smooth, we hope. We'll keep you posted. We'll do more stories on this throughout the week, too.

COLLINS: Best of luck.

LEMON: Thank you, Pete. I guess.

HARLOW: Thank you, Pete.

OK. So coming up, we're going to talk about Elon Musk and the former president, because Elon Musk has reinstated Trump's Twitter account. Will Trump return? We'll talk about it with the very own -- with our very own Audie Cornish.