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CNN This Morning

Nightclub Shooting Suspect Faces Murder, Hate Crime Charges; Hospitals Nationwide Report Dire Shortages Due to RSV Surge; Disney Stock Rises After Surprise Return of CEO Bob Iger. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 07:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program. Good morning. It is Tuesday, November 22nd.

News about the suspected gunman who killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs expected to face murder and hate crime charges. We are learning more about the victims, and we're hearing extraordinary stories of survival.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, pediatric ICUs are operating over capacity as sick children and their parents are waiting in line for care over the holidays, RSV, COVID and the flu have pushed hospitals nationwide over the brink. We'll tell you what you need to know.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We will also talk to you about the latest on this possible huge nationwide rail strike that could cripple the U.S. economy just before the holidays. We'll speak to the leader of one of the biggest unions involved.

LEMON: Yes, all at the worst time right now.

And happening today, the Department of Justice makes its first significant move since naming a special counsel in its Mar-a-Lago probe.

But, first, this is what we're going to begin with. The suspected gunman who killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs remains hospitalized this morning and not talking to investigators. We're learning a whole lot more about the victims and hearing from the people who survived the shooting about the terror they witnessed.


TIARA KELLEY, CLUB Q PRODUCER AND PERFORMER: This guy, the look on his face was full of hate. It was complete hatred.

ED SANDERS, CLUB Q SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It seemed like he was firing from his waist. But I -- it happened so fast. I didn't really grasp it, what was going on until I got shot in the leg.

BARRETT HUDSON, CLUB Q SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I took off running to the back. And I got shot. I knew I got shot a few times. I fell down. He proceeded to shoot me. I got back up. I made it out of the back of the club. I got my phone and I called my dad because I -- me and my dad are like best friends. It's really great, weird relationship. And he's always stood by me through thick and thin. That was the last person that I wanted to talk to.

MICHAEL ANDERSON, BARTENDER AT CLUB Q WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: I had never prayed so sincerely and quickly in my life as I did in that moment. After about a minute-and-a-half, I decided I needed to get out there. So, I got up and when I went inside, I saw what I believed was probably the gunman lying on the ground, getting beat up and kicked and yelled at by two very brave people who I still don't know the identity of those two people. But I hope I can find out one day because I truly believe those two people saved my life.


LEMON: Everything has changed for them forever.

Let's go to CNN's Rosa Flores live for CNN This Morning in Colorado Springs. Hello, Rosa. You know, we've learned the names of the victims in this tragedy, and I want to know what do their family members say?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Don, hearts are heavy here in this community as the community learns the names of the victims, and also like you said, just a little bit about them from their families.

Let me share their names. Raymond Green Vance, his family describing him as being kind, selfless, gifted and willing to go out of his way for anyone. Then there's Kelly Loving, her sister Tiffany saying that her sister was just a good person. She was loving and caring and very sweet. Ashley Paugh, her husband saying that his wife just had say huge heart, that she worked for a nonprofit that helps foster children find homes. And there's Daniel Aston, he had moved to Colorado Springs to be close to his family. And Derrick Rump, I spoke to survivor Ed Sanders who told me that Derrick would never let him go home without getting an Uber, or if he couldn't get an Uber, he would drive him home to make sure that he got home safely.

And then, Don, of course, you know that now we know the names of two heroes that authorities say saved countless lives, that's Richard Fierro and Thomas James. And as you know, Fierro is the U.S. Army veteran who says that his instincts simply kicked in.

LEMON: So, Rosa, I want to ask you, we are being told by investigators that he's not cooperating or not speaking to investigators. What do we know about the investigation into the shooter this morning?

FLORES: Well, the investigation is ongoing.

[07:05:00] According to the district attorney, formal charges have not been filed yet. But the shooter is -- the suspected shooter is being held pending possible charges, multiple. At this point, the D.A. saying possibly five first degree murder charges and five hate crimes.

Now, the district attorney says that all of those are possible charges, but that, Don, as you know, once formal charges are filed, he says those charges could grow. Because not only are five people dead in this case, there's also at least 19 others who were injured.

LEMON: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you very much this morning. Poppy?

HARLOW: Well, this deadly shooting has raised a lot of questions, I think rightly so, about Colorado's red flag law and why it wasn't used here. So, we want you to understand what it is. It's also known as the extreme risk protection order. It was passed just a few years ago in 2019. And what it allows is it allows family members, roommates, friends or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily take away a person's firearms if they are deemed too dangerous to themselves or others. And if a judge grants that petition, a court hearing will be held before decision is made to seize those weapons.

As we first told you yesterday, police arrested the Club Q suspect in connection with a bomb threat that he had made that led to a standoff with his mother just a year ago. But there's no evidence that the police, or any family members, or anyone surrounding the suspected shooter attempted to use this red flag law that could have temporarily stripped him of his weapons.

So, we asked the Colorado attorney general, you'll remember, yesterday morning, about why. And this is what he told us.


PHILIP WEISER, COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: I do believe officers know we have the red flag law. We need to make sure it's top of mind and that everyone understands how it works and what the rationale and reasoning for it is.

I don't have enough information to know exactly what the officers knew, what we can do is make sure that we embrace this as a call to action, to better educate about this law, to make sure that law enforcement understands it and is able to use it to save lives.


HARLOW: And here's what else you should know, more than half of Colorado's counties initially opposed this legislation, they declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, those counties argued that enforcing red flag laws would infringe on Second Amendment rights.

In El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, where the shooting happened, was one of those counties. And yet, according to Kaiser Health News, as of last June, 20 of the 37 counties in Colorado that publicly took a stand against this red flag law actually used it, El Paso County being one of them.

So, why it wasn't enforced when this suspect threatened his own mother in that bomb threat last year? That is unclear.

COLLINS: All right. This morning, as Colorado is mourning the lives of those five people who were killed, there are still major questions about the suspect. He is right now still hospitalized, he is not released on bond, is not expected to be released on bond. There is new reporting though this morning from The Washington Post that he once changed his name amid questions about that what led up to this attack.

So, with us now to talk more about this is CNN's Athena Jones. Athena, obviously, the focus here is always on the victims. That is what it should be, on their families, on this community. But people, as this suspect is waiting charges, they want to know what's going on here. Is he going to be charged with hate crime charges? So, what have you learned about him himself?

ATHENA JONES, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, like the investigators, we journalists are trying to piece together a profile of this suspect why he -- maybe learn why he did what he did. We've learned that his grandfather is an outgoing California state assemblyman by the name Randy Voepel. He has been an assemblyman since 2016, where he recently lost his re-election bid. This is the father of the suspect's mother, Laura Voepel.

Randy Voepel attracted attention when he compared the January 6th attack on the Capitol to the revolutionary war. Where is what he said. He said this is Lexington and Concord, first shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20th.

Now, he later tried to walk that back, saying he didn't condone the violence that took place that Wednesday at the Capitol, and it's not clear at this point what kind of interactions this 22-year-old suspect had with his grandfather, but we are learning a little bit more about his family.

COLLINS: Yes. And one thing to note is an aide for that lawmaker told The New York Times that he had been estranged from that branch of the family and had not seen his grandson for about a decade. But, of course, major questions about that.

JONES: Certainly. And there's also more questions about this video that you guys --

LEMON: Yes. There's a standoff that we're talking about that happened back in 2021 of the suspect, and I want you to look at it and get the response. So, here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your boy, I've got the (BLEEP) outside. Look at that, they've got a beat on me. You see that right there, (BLEEP) got their (BLEEP) rifles out. If they breach, I'm going to (BLEEP) blow it to holy hell. [07:10:01]


LEMON: I've got to ask you, considering Poppy just said the whole layout on the red flag laws and what have you, and you saw what happened there. So, what is happening here, Athena?

JONES: Well, this is a standoff, as you mentioned, in 2021. He had been accused of threatening his mom with a bomb and multiple weapons and ammunition. According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, several houses in that neighborhood had to be evacuated. And so you see a very agitated young man, he's wearing a helmet, some sort of body armor, ranting about law enforcement, challenging them to breach the house. Now, in the end, you'll see any officers on that video, he was later taken into custody without any incident.

But this is concerning. We got this from -- Keenan (ph) got this from his mother's former landlord who saw him live streaming this on his mother's Facebook page. He took a screen-grab of it and shared it with us.

HARLOW: And she was really concerned. She told The New York Times over the weekend, how could something like this happen and the authorities not intervene and take the weapon, take any weapon away? How could this person have weapons?

JONES: It's the same issue with these red flag laws. We also learned from The Washington Post that this young man had suffered online bullying as a teenager. He had grown up, spent time in Texas in San Antonio. His name used to be Nicholas Brink (ph). Right before his 16th birthday after undergoing a lot of online bullying and harassment, he petitioned to have his name changed. And so that's why he's now called Anderson Lee Aldrich. That is not his original name, we understand. This is because he had been subject to bullying.

So, we're getting a little bit more of a picture about this alleged shooter did, what he went through with this life.

LEMON: -- investigating and trying to figure out his past and all that --

COLLINS: And maybe potentially help evade probable accusations in his past, we don't know. There are still really big questions about that. And then, of course, investigators are looking into all of this. So, thank you for bringing us the latest.

Ahead, we are going to speak to the veteran who actually took down the gunman. Rich Fierro joins CNN This Morning live.

LEMON: So, we have an update for you this morning on this disturbing story. This is about a white father and son accused of chasing down and shooting at a black FedEx drive in Mississippi earlier this year. Gregory and Brandon Case have both had their charges upgraded to attempted murder. Police say the pair chased down 24-year-old D'Monterrio Gibson and shot at his delivery truck just moments after he had made a delivery, delivered a package to their home.

When the pair was first arrested back in January, Brandon, the son, was charged with attempting to cause bodily injury with a firearm. And his father, Gregory, was charged with conspiracy. But a grand jury just indicted both men on attempted murder and conspiracy charges.

Gibson spoke to CNN about the incident back in February comparing his case to that of Ahmaud Arbery that was in Georgia, the 25-year-old black man who was murdered by three white men nearly Brunswick, Georgia in 2020. Watch this.


D'MONTERRIO GIBSON, FEDEX DRIVER: I can definitely see the similarities. And that's why I feel it's my responsibility to speak up, because Ahmaud Arbery didn't survive to speak up for himself. So, I want to take it upon myself to do that for me and him as well.


LEMON: So, we need to tell you that a trial date for Gregory and Brandon Case has not been set. We will follow this story.

COLLINS: Also this morning, more than 100 migrants have been rescued from an overloaded boat in the rough waters off the Florida Keys. The U.S. Coast Guard released these images showing many of the rescued were young children.

CNN's Leyla Santiago joins us live from Islamorada, Florida. Leyla, what can you tell us about this rescue effort but also, of course, what led to it?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Kaitlan, when you see those images, you see that these rescue efforts included babies that were pulled out of the vessel there. You can see why it's so heartbreaking.

So, let's talk about what we know at this point. We are right now at Whale Harbor Marina. And it was not far from where we are where a Good Samaritan reported an overloaded vessel yesterday morning. That vessel eventually came up on a sandbar and there were some pretty intense rescue efforts under way by the Coast Guard.

When I spoke to the Coast Guard overnight, one of the first thing they mentioned was how rough it was, how bad the conditions were. It was raining, rough the seas, we're talking about five to six feet, 25- mile-per-hour winds, so not an ideal time for anyone to be out there, much less that type vessel. But still a lot of questions remaining how long they were out there and what exactly will happen next.

COLLINS: Yes. And, of course, big questions about those rescue efforts, those poor children, as you see in those images. Leyla, thank you for that update. We'll stay with you.


HARLOW: All right. Parents, listen up, pediatric hospitals across the country are running out of beds for children. This is largely because RSV cases have surged across the country coupled with the flu. The RSV virus is severely impacting the number of available ventilators and hospital beds, including at Children's Minnesota Hospital, where administrators say they're almost out of ICU beds.

So, I want to bring in the CEO and president of Children's Minnesota Hospital, Dr. Marc Gorelick.


Doctor, thanks very much for being with us. I got to tell you this, when I saw this headline crossed, we really wanted you on, because my friend, good friend from Minnesota with two little boys, just told me they experienced this last week. How bad is it?

DR. MARC GORELICK, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CHILDREN'S MINNESOTA HOSPITAL: We are seeing the biggest surge in respiratory illness, wintertime respiratory illness that we've ever seen going back. Our number of admissions, patients admitted to the hospital for respiratory illness in October double the previous record number.

HARLOW: Okay. So, then the question is, if this is my child, what do I do? And we have some video. I think you've seen it. I want to display it for our viewers to see some things that babies have been going through. It's that quick breathing from the abdomen like that, that's concerning.


HARLOW: We'll show you the other one. And if you could just speak to what parents that see the sort of the head bobbing, right, what do parents that witnessed do if there literally are no ICU beds for their kids?

GORELICK: So, a couple of things to keep in mind. RSV is a very common virus. Most people will get it at some point in their childhood, and many people that causes very mild symptoms of cold. But in some cases, it's more severe. There is no treatment for RSV. There's nothing that makes it go away faster. The treatments are aimed at dealing with the symptoms.

And so the main reason that children would need to come into the hospital, if the symptoms are severe enough, as you saw in the video, they're having respiratory distress that they might need extra oxygen, for example. So, the kinds of things that you saw here, this baby whose belly moving out when they breathed, head bobbing, pulling in their muscles, those are signs that a parent would need to seek medical care. The first step might be their pediatrician's office or an urgent care or emergency department to get checked out to see whether or not they actually need to go into the hospital.

Our hospitals, we are operating at capacity, but we do -- are able to accommodate those babies. Sometimes they have to wait a while. Sometimes we're treating patients in the emergency department for a longer period of time. We are opening up alternate areas within the hospital that might not be used on the nights and weekends to accommodate those babies so we can take care of them, but those are the kinds of things that a parent would look for to indicate that, yes, maybe I should go in.

COLLINS: But a lot of those symptoms that we just showed, those are pretty common symptoms for children. I have two nephews that are the same age. They're in preschool. They are often getting sick because they're around with other kids, so, runny nose, fever, the coughing, the loss of appetite. How do parents know when to distinguish when it is time to go to the hospital, because they don't want to go prematurely given they're so at capacity?

GORELICK: Right. Again, you're right, those symptoms, runny nose, cough, fever, very common. The baby that you saw in that video really labored breathing, not very common. And it's particularly the younger infants who are at risk. Less than six months are considered to be the highest risk. So, certainly, a parent with a younger infant who is having that kind of difficulty breathing should be probably seeking medical care.

HARLOW: Can I just ask you one quick follow-up question, because last week, the big association that oversees you guys, the Children's Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics went to the Biden administration and said we need emergency aid because this in children, some children is the equivalent to what COVID was pre- vaccine for adults. Is that true? I mean, do you agree you need, what is it, emergency funding from the Biden administration?

GORELICK: Yes, we certainly -- you know, we are -- we are strained on space, on staff, on supplies, and any help would be welcome. And so, certainly, this could be one additional tool that could help children's hospitals, like Children's Minnesota and our colleagues around the country get the resources that they need.

HARLOW: Okay. Doctor, thanks for this, but thanks for what you guys do for kids every day. I appreciate it.

GORELICK: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

HARLOW: All right. Ahead, Disney's stock is rising after the surprise announcement that the former CEO, Bob Iger, is back that charge.

LEMON: And the United States vice president, Kamala Harris, is talking 2024 this morning. Wow.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, as the president said, he intends to run. And if he does, I will be running with him.



[07:20:00] JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: Our former CEO at Disney was a guy named Bob Iger, Old Bob. Two years ago, Old bob decided to retire. So, he picked a new Bob to replace him, Bob Chapek. Last night out of nowhere, the board of directors fired new Bob and convinced Old Bob to come back, which means New Bob is now Old Bob and Old Bob is the new New Bob. It's like what happened with Coca-Cola when they switched the formula and now we're back to Bob Classic, I guess.


COLLINS: Okay. He got that from Kara Swisher, called them Bob One and Bob Two.

HARLOW: That's right. Wasn't there a new coke, Coca-Cola?

LEMON: Yes, that was years ago.

LEMON: There was Clear Pepsi.

COLLINS: No, I was alive. Kaitlan wasn't.

LEMON: So, it was new Coke, and everybody hated it, so then they'd go back to Coke and then it was Coke original or whatever.

But at anyway, thank you, Jimmy Kimmel, for expressing exactly how I felt about this. I'm like, what the heck is going on. Fun fact, I hear that a lot of Disney executives were at the Elton John concert --

HARLOW: When they found out?

LEMON: -- when they found out. They're all on their phones, go, whoa, and then Chapek was supposed to introduce Elton John.


HARLOW: And he didn't show?

LEMON: That did not happen, fun fact.

Disney stock jumping about 6 percent after the big announcement that Bob Iger will return to Disney as CEO, retaking the reins from his handpicked successor, Bob Chapek.

Our Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon is here. And so, hello.


LEMON: This is crazy. Just one day, it's back, the stock is up. This is what I say, Disney is making big changes. There are certain people who are meant for certain jobs and he is one of those people. He was built for that job.

HARLOW: New Bob or Old Bob?

LEMON: Old Bob.

HARLOW: But who is New Bob now?

LEMON: Well, he's Bob --

SOLOMON: I'll try to make sense of it, yes, the current Bob, the current Bob, yes. So, look, just to put this in context, it was Sunday night that the staff learned that the old Bob, Bob Iger, would be coming back. By Monday evening, there was a memo sent to employees essentially announcing changes. So, one of the big changes is that one of the top executives, Kareem Daniels, he is going to be stepping down. He led the median entertainment division, who is also a Chapek ally, Chapek being the new Bob.

We also learned in that memo that over the coming weeks, there will be more organizational and operating changes at the company, i.e., more to come there. And we're also just learning that streaming will likely be much more of a focus heading into this Disney+, of course.

So, earlier this month, Disney reported that they lost $1.5 billion in the quarter, still adding subscribers, but those type of losses, there's not really an appetite for that in this investing market. Investors didn't like it.

COLLINS: But it seems like a lot of the changes that we're hearing now are changes that Bob Chapek had made when he took over for Bob Iger. Now that Bob Iger is back, he seems to be reversing some of those big changes. Have we heard from Bob Chapek on this massive and sudden change at the helm?

SOLOMON: I don't we have. And one thing that's really interesting, the timing of all of this was really curious, right, because it was just in June that the board had unanimously approved a three-year extension to Chapek's contract until about 2025, I believe it was. And then just in November, they made this sudden 180.

What we're now seeing and reporting from the Financial Times this morning is that, apparently, there was a staff rebellion from top executives over the summer who were Iger allies. And so it seems to make sense because just within the last few months, things took a real sudden shift. So, now, we're learning that there may have been some sort of discontent among top executives who were Iger loyalists.

HARLOW: It's so interesting. I mean, he also started at the ground level at ABC, so many years, really worked every level to get there.

LEMON: And, Rahel, let me ask you, but how -- I've spoken to people who, you know, executives, who say this is really unusual.

HARLOW: It is.

LEMON: For a board to do this, it takes guts and because people don't want to admit like, you know, they made a mistake or that the other person, you know --

HARLOW: I mean, I think it takes guts, and it's not -- I mean, Howard Schultz did it twice at Starbucks, three times over. But it's rare, for sure. But, yes, it takes guts. Also the board really needs to reexamine why the decision was made unanimously to re-up Chapek not long ago.

COLLINS: I guess my question, is there no one else who could do the job, though, because it is really unusual to bring someone back. Like that's what speaks to unusual nature. It's not forcing someone out. But is there no one else --

LEMON: That's a great point about succession planning, right?

SOLOMON: Yes. I mean, the truth is that Chapek was Bob Iger's handpicked successor. So, it's a great question.

LEMON: He's known -- a new person would be another unknown entity.

SOLOMON: Yes. Or maybe it comes from within the company. I think it's a great question just in terms of -- I mean, clearly, Iger had the golden touch in his previous tenure. Will he have the same touch this time? We'll see.

LEMON: Thank you, Rahel. Good to see you.

HARLOW: All right. You've been hearing about this. You're going to hear a lot more about this in the next few weeks, a crippling nationwide rail strike is a real possibility after a big union rejected the latest deal. We'll tell you just how it could impact you and your family, ahead.