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CNN This Morning

Community Mourns in Colorado Springs after Gunman Opens Fire in LGBTQ Nightclub; Colorado District Attorney Investigating Nightclub Shooting as Possible Hate Crime; Bob Iger Retakes Helm as CEO of Disney; Bob Iger Returns to Run Disney, Replacing Bob Chapek Immediately; Horror in Colorado. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 08:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is 8:00 a.m. here in the east, November 21st. Welcome to CNN this morning. And we do have a lot to get to. Unfortunately, there was another mass shooting in America that happened over the weekend. Five people killed, dozens more injured by a gunman who opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. We will get the latest on the investigation from the Colorado attorney general.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also, two men arrested for allegedly plotting an attack on a New York synagogue. How police were able to intercept that.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And after one incredibly difficult year for the company, Bob Iger is now back in charge at Disney. We'll talk about whether or not he can build new life into the media giant that he built.

LEMON: But first, another morning in America, another tragedy. The latest in Colorado Springs where five people were murdered over the weekend at an LGBTQ nightclub. A 22-year-old suspect is now in custody. The club's owners say that he was heavily armed and wearing a military-style flak jacket when he entered the building, and that he was stopped and held down by two heroic patrons. Rosa Flores is live for us in Colorado Springs for CNN this morning. Rosa, good morning to you. Where is the investigation right now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, you can see the crime scene tape is still up behind me. It's very early in the investigation. Police have identified the suspected shooter as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22 years of age. Police say that the first 911 call came in about 11:56, 57 p.m. on Saturday. About three minutes after that, according to police, that's when the first officers arrived on scene, and two minutes after that police say that the suspect was taken into custody.

Now, police say that the alleged shooter, once he went into Club Q, he immediately started firing his weapon, and they do say at least two -- or one individual, or two individuals who were very heroic subdued the suspect with his own weapon, according to police. He hit them with his own weapon. Those two weapons that were recovered, according to police, it's unclear exactly what they are. They do say he at least had one long gun.

As for the motive, investigators are not releasing what they know, but they do say according to the D.A. that this is being investigated through the lens of a hate crime. The D.A. is in communication with the U.S. Attorney's Office. The FBI is assisting. And Don, the big point here is that, regardless if it's state charges or federal charges, it's about giving those victims justice.

COLLINS: And speaking of those victims, what are you hearing from their families, from their friends this morning as they're still reeling from what happened on Saturday night?

FLORES: Kaitlan, I talked to one of the LGBTQ leaders in Colorado Springs late last night, and the way she described it was that they feel just shattered, and it is just -- there's just so much grief and so much sorrow here because what Club Q represented for so many people in the LGBTQ community here was a safe space, a lifeline, the one place where they could go and feel safe. And now that's been shattered. It has been turned into a crime scene.

And they also say that this is a very tight, closeknit community where everybody knows everybody. And so now the safe space that they had has been turned into a crime scene and five individuals have been murdered, and others, dozen, have been injured. Some of them this morning are still fighting for their lives. The latest that we heard from hospitals is that some of them are still in critical condition.

And so it's a very tough time here in Colorado Springs because hearts are heavy. There's a lot of sorrow, there's a lot of grief. But I can't forget to tell you this, the other thing that this community leader told me, Kaitlan, was that, despite all that, this community has a lot of grit, a lot of resilience. They've gone through so much, and they say that they're coming out of this stronger. Kaitlan?


COLLINS: We just spoke with one of the survivors, one of the bartenders who was there at the club. He said it was just one of two gay night Colorado Springs. Rosa, thank you for the update. We will check back with you to get an update on the victims and how they are doing, and how they're faring.

Also coming up in a few minutes, we want to talk more about the investigation that's underway. We're going to ask questions to Phil Weiser. He's Colorado's attorney general. We'll talk about the latest in this investigation.

HARLOW: Let's bring in Stoney Bertz who is a field coordinator for One Colorado. That is the state's leading advocacy group dedicated to advancing equality for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. Stoney, thank you and good morning to you.

STONEY BERTZ, SOUTHERN COLORADO FIELD ORGANIZER, ONE COLORADO: Absolutely, thank you. And good morning to you all.

HARLOW: You talk about how Club Q holds such symbolism and means so much. We heard Governor Polis say on CNN over the weekend this was supposed to be a safe space in the community, and it was anything but. Rosa just reported that the D.A. is looking at this, investigating this through the lens of a hate crime. That is a step shy of saying it was a hate crime definitively, but I wonder if there's any question in your mind.

BERTZ: No. To me -- we definitely don't want to make assumptions about motive and things like that as an investigation is underway and as it continues, but I think as somebody who has been to Club Q and grew up in Club Q in a lot of ways, I don't know what else you could call it at this point.

HARLOW: So if this was supposed to be the safe space, is there any safe space for members of the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs right now? What are they telling you?

BERTZ: I think right now we are -- we've always been the arbiters of our safe spaces, right? We're always responsible for creating them. And unfortunately, we've in a lot of ways been the only folks invested in keeping them safe. So I think right now there aren't a lot of safe spaces. In reality I think what everybody is feeling is this immense amount of grief, immense amount of sorrow, immense amount of indescribable feelings for an unimaginable situation that, unfortunately with the landscape of what we've seen in the past, is imaginable in a lot of ways.

So right now I think it's kind of up to us to lean into each other and figure out how we can make those safe spaces, but also have folks outside of our community invested in keeping them safe.

HARLOW: Stoney, Michael Anderson is the bartender that Kaitlan just mentioned moments ago to our correspondent there in the field. He spoke to us a little bit ago. I want you to hear and I want you to respond to it. Here it is.


MICHAEL ANDERSON, BARTENDER AT CLUB Q WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: He's always been a friend to me, but he was my supervisor at Club Q. He was the bar supervisor, and he was the best supervisor anybody could have asked for. He made me want to come into the work and he made me just want to just be a part of the positive culture we were trying to create there. Amazing person. He was a light in my life, and it's still surreal that we're even talking about him in past tense like this.


LEMON: He's talking about Daniel Aston who was killed Saturday night while bartending at the club as well. What do you say to that?

BERTZ: It's -- it's definitely hard to hear somebody that a lot of people I've heard up until this point describe as a beacon of light and just a wonderful person and a wonderful person to work with. And to hear somebody have to describe someone in the past tense that they either just saw or just had an interaction with is heartbreaking, and the description leads me to a place where -- Club Q has been that. So that person represented what Club Q was to all of us, an open and welcoming space that made us feel like we could be ourselves, especially in situations where a lot of people can't be authentic at home. Club Q provided that safe space, and the bartenders were a part of that ecosystem.

COLLINS: And Stoney, you talked about the need for people outside the community to be invested in it. In the aftermath of this, as we're learning more about the investigation, what do you want to hear from your political leaders, from your elected leaders in the state when they're speaking out about this?

BERTZ: I think for us it's pointed. I think oftentimes when things happen there are vigils and there's space made so that friends and family can grieve and begin that process in community. And I think too often there are -- whether it be local officials, things of that nature, that do come, and they're there for that first wave of grief, but then after that there's really nothing tangible that we can look back to and say this is what came out of that.


So I think what we need from our leaders at this point is just be true to what you're saying in your speeches. Implement those things, and we also need to all sit at the table and figure out what the next steps are, because as tragic and heartbreaking as these circumstances are, our work really begins today, right. We have to make space for friends and family to grieve and to be there for them and provide community, but we also have to have action behind our words, and that falls on our local state and federal officials to do that.

HARLOW: Stoney Bertz, thank you for being with us this morning and for all you've done and continue to do.

BERTZ: Absolutely, thank you.

HARLOW: Sorry doesn't begin to describe it.

LEMON: And you know, he's right about that. When the cameras go away, the attention goes away, local officials have to make sure that they continue to keep this top of mind, even when the news turns to something else.

HARLOW: And how are you going to make it safer, right?

OK, up next, a Disney shakeup. Bob Iger taking the reins again as CEO. Kara Swisher is here live on CNN THIS MORNING. She asked him about this. What he told here not that long ago.

LEMON: Who is Kara Swisher?

HARLOW: She knows everything.



LEMON: Well, this came as quite a shocker because it wasn't that long ago when he left and now he's back. This is a stunning move in the business world overnight. Bob Iger is returning to Disney just two years after retiring from a legendary run there.

He replaces his own successor, Bob Chapek after the company suffered disappointing earnings last quarter.

Now, the former CEO's rocky tenure also included battles with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis over the State's controversial bill restricting LGBTQ topics in the classroom. He faced criticism for not initially speaking out against it.

Iger spoke about that to CNN's Chris Wallace. That was just a few months ago. Here it is.


BOB IGER, RETURNING TO LEAD DISNEY: A lot of these issues are not necessarily political. It is about right and wrong.

So, I happened to feel and I tweeted an opinion about this Don't Say Gay Bill in Florida. To me, it wasn't politics, it was what is right and what is wrong and that just seemed wrong. It seemed potentially harmful to kids.


LEMON: So shortly after Iger stepped down, Kara Swisher asked him about his exit and whether he would return on her podcast.


KARA SWISHER, TECH JOURNALIST: But one of the things -- CNBC polled 10 media executives anonymously about their 2022 predictions, and one was that you'll return to Disney.

IGER: As what?

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

IGER: I would love that, 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 and you can't go home again. I'm gone.

SWISHER: Okay, all right. Really? It's happened before. Starbucks. IGER: I gave my ID. I gave my ID up, my nametag up.


IGER: My office, my e-mail address. It's all gone.

I think if I wanted to run a company, I'd still be running Disney. No, no, I did that.


LEMON: Well never say never. That's the lesson there.


LEMON: Tech journalist and host of "On Kara Swisher" is Kara Swisher.

Kara, thank you. So, my question is -- good morning to you -- what happened? Because we hear, you know, as you know, you read about the thing. It has the media spin. The PR people do the thing. What happened behind the scenes that led to this?

SWISHER: Well, I think that a lot of problems with his successor, Bob Chapek, who I like to call Bob 2, and I called Bob Iger, Bob 1 and now he is Bob 3, just so you know.

So I think he wasn't doing very well, and I think Disney is in a -- you know, in a little bit of a state, spending all of that money on streaming. They've got a lot of challenges, and so they wanted to bring back someone they knew who could handle it.

And Chapek has had a very rocky road there, not just the don't say gay stuff, which was badly handled, I think, but also around streaming and the spending and then on a recent earnings call, which was a surprise to people, he was a little too jaunty. I think, people were like he was acting like there was not a problem.

And then they had activists. The shares of the stock have been going down and a lot of activists have entered the picture. So they needed, you know, a titanium CEO, and that's what Bob Iger is.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I keep -- good morning, Kara. Thanks for getting up and getting with us early.


HARLOW: When I think of Bob Iger, I think of someone who is not afraid to make hard decisions and makes them deliberately and isn't afraid of, you know, political blowback, if you will.

And I know, you know, when he opens his book, talking about that moment when that toddler was killed by the alligator in Disneyworld, and the reason I bring that up ...

SWISHER: Big moment. HARLOW: ... is because I think it's a moment that helps define him.

Because all the lawyers of Disney told him, don't call the parents. Right? Don't call them, you can't do it. He is like, forget it, he picks up the phone, he calls the parents. What can we do? We will do anything. We can't bring a child back, what can we do?

But is that emblematic of the leader he is.

SWISHER: Well, he's an excellent leader. You know, I always jokingly call him to his face the Cashmere Prince, but he's very smooth. He's very-- he is funny. He is very forward.

He is one of the first -- the reason I've known him so well is because he was very early to digital and very few executives were. He said to me, if someone is going to eat our lunch, it might as well be us, which was shocking at the time among media executives.

So, he has always leaned forward in ways and he is very -- you know, he's got a real commanding presence and makes really strong decisions. And that's very, very important and he does it with a lot of class, I have to say.

I just interviewed him in September, if you recall, at my Code Conference, also, that was a January interview I did in Richmond for his -- he said, can you do my exit interview? I said, sure.

And this one I did in September. He showed up in like, you know, he looked like he just got off his yacht or sailboat or something and he was in sneakers and casual.

HARLOW: You tweeted this morning. Yes. We have it.

SWISHER: Yes. You could see it. And so he was like, oh, I'm really enjoying retirement. And I don't -- I didn't get the sense he was, and you know, his wife, Willow Bay has this amazing job at USC in Los Angeles. So he can't really travel.

And I think he joked to me like he was the house husband, essentially, and I thought that's not going to work for you.

So, I don't know. I think he felt like there is very few people you could bring in here and you saw it happen at Starbucks. You could see it happen in a lot of companies. There's a lot of companies that are suffering right now and their CEO there that had left was a strong one and they need a strong leadership right now.


COLLINS: Well Kara, on that note, I think this is what everyone was thinking about last night when this news got announced is, speaking of good CEOs versus bad CEOs or how CEOs are being perceived, you know, what Poppy just noted about in Bob Iger's book, comparing that to the other takeover we've seen with Elon Musk in Twitter and the different approaches that they take here.

HARLOW: Oh, yes. COLLINS: It's really reflective to see these two side by side.

HARLOW: And Iger walked away from Twitter. Disney almost bought Twitter. Iger walked away and said no.

SWISHER: He did. He almost did.

LEMON: Smart man.

SWISHER: Yes, well, you know, there is not a comparison here.

I mean, look, Elon Musk has been a very successful business person, but his methods are the polar opposite of Bob Iger. And Bob has had lots of successes, too that shows how you can be a very strong CEO, but kind and also decisive, but not mean to people, you know, the way Elon is conducting this, as you know, I think is quite appalling.

At the same time, look, he has a lot of success, but that's not the way I'd want to have success, I'll tell you that.

HARLOW: I'll read one thing about him, David Geffen: "Literally, I have never heard one person say a bad thing about him. He is honorable, decent, smart, successful. He is in a category of one."

LEMON: Stop talking about me David Geffen like I'm not here.

HARLOW: You, too. You are in a category of one.

LEMON: Hey, Kara ...

SWISHER: That's true.

LEMON: ... one more thing before you go.


LEMON: Happy Thanksgiving if we don't see you.

HARLOW; Happy Thanksgiving.

SWISHER: Thank you. You, too. Have a great time. Thanks a lot.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. It's always good. Thanks for joining us.

HARLOW: Thanks, Kara.

COLLINS: Thanks, Kara.

LEMON: So up next, more on the tragedy in Colorado. We're going to speak live with the State's Attorney General about the suspect and the investigation including this video of his arrest last year.


[08:25:39] COLLINS: Major questions remain this morning about the suspect

accused of gunning down five people and injuring at least 25 others at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub on Saturday, especially because of this, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested in June last year in connection with a bomb threat that led to a standoff at his mother's home.

You could see the video there of him coming out to police. They had already evacuated the nearby homes during that standoff. Sheriff's Deputies say that they responded after his own mother said he was "threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition."

A lot of questions still about how that case was resolved.

Joining us now to talk about this investigation is the Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser. And thank you so much, Attorney General for joining us.

The major question this morning has been about motive here. Is the suspect speaking to investigators yet and what have you learned about a potential motive, if anything?

PHIL WEISER, COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: So, the investigation is ongoing and I think, it is fair to say based on the facts, it's very hard to conceive a situation where the motive wasn't generated by hate.

This was a well-known nightclub that individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the LGBTQ community knew was a safe place. It was a place where people could be their authentic selves, and someone came and essentially took all of that away.

Because we know there's so much of this hate out there particularly towards individuals who are LGBTQ and this is obviously something that is painful. It was on Transgender Remembrance Day when it happened. So, this is a call to all of us to look at that hate and ask what do we do about it?

COLLINS: It's a big question. Is he speaking to investigators yet?

WEISER: So, I'm not free to give details of the particulars on investigation. Obviously, he was taken alive and there will be a full investigation, and law enforcement authorities are going to be working to make sure to bring justice, to honor the victims and so many people who are struggling to understand how could this have happened?

COLLINS: Yes, and we know the community is reeling. We just spoke to one of the survivors of this shooting. He talked about the weapons that were used.

Have investigators determine who owns the weapons that were used or where or when these guns were purchased?

WEISER: So, that's part of what we're going to be looking at in terms of understanding how this happened, and how we can avoid something like this and save lives.

Obviously, in your lead in, you talked about the prior involvement with law enforcement and for us in Colorado, we had a shooting just again, quite recently in Boulder, Colorado, another mass shooting where the question is about our Red Flag Law and how we do better in terms of identifying people who are a significant risk to other people or even themselves and have firearms.

We know that people who are a risk, who are filled with hate, have firearms, it is a deadly mix.

HARLOW: So, Mr. Attorney General, thank you for being with us, and just if we could stick on the Red Flag Law, because this is something that's been a big deal in Colorado. You actually campaigned on this heavily.

And after the incident that Kaitlan described that happened just over a year ago with a bomb threat to his mother, the woman whose home, his mother, was living in at the time said after this, "Why is he not in jail?"

After that day, police never reached out to her and she writes, "I'm a Second Amendment supporter, don't get me wrong, but for him to be out there and have access to weapons, I just don't understand it."

How can we understand it? Did the Red Flag Law fail here? Did no one use it?

WEISER: We are working hard to educate and to bring more awareness about the Red Flag Law. Obviously, when individuals -- when law enforcement don't use this tool, it's not going to perform its function.

The way this tool works is very simple. When we know someone is a significant risk to themselves or other people, law enforcement or even individuals can go into Court and remove those firearms.

This law was passed after we had a really horrendous law enforcement involved killing that was in Douglas County named after Zackari Parrish who perished when against someone with a history of violence who had weapons, kept those weapons.

We've got to do better and we're going to work on educating law enforcement to make sure that again for everyone who is a responsible gun owner, this Red Flag Law is not about you. This is about people who are dangerous, who we know should not have firearms.

HARLOW: Can you talk to us about the type of firearms that were used? What do you know about them? And we've been hearing a lot about a second gun found at the scene.