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CNN This Morning

Stephen Gutowski is Interviewed about the Guns in the Nashville Shooting; Netanyahu Delays Judicial Overhaul; Water Worries in Philadelphia; Severe Storms Batter Southeast; Evanston, Illinois, Adds Cash Option to Reparations. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 06:30   ET





LAUREN DAIGLE, MUSICIAN (singing): Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A beautiful sound for such a tragedy there. Christin singer Lauren Daigle at a vigil in Nashville, this was last night, after postponing her concert to host prayers for the victims of the Covenant School shooting. Nine-year-old students and three adults lost their lives and police say the 28 year old shooter was heavily armed, carrying three firearms, including two assault-style weapons.

Overnight, police executed a search warrant at the shooter's home where they seized a sawed off shotgun and a second shotgun.

I want to bring in now Stephen Gutowski, he's a safety instruction and firearms reporter for

Stephen, thank you for joining us this morning.

We just -- we got the new information on what they found overnight and the weapons that were allegedly found at the scene. What more can you tell us about the weapons that the shooter had?

STEPHEN GUTOWSKI, GUN SAFETY INSTRUCTION AND FIREARMS REPORTER, THE RELOAD: Yes, so the weapons that were recovered at the scene, there actually seems to have been some sort of misunderstanding from police about what they are. As you can see in these pictures here, you have a 9mm handgun, and AR-15 style pistol, and then a SUB2000, which is a pistol caliber carbine that shoots 9mm as well.

And then what's interesting about those guns you mentioned being recovered at the shooter's home is the sawed off shotgun because if - if it is indeed a shotgun that has a barrel shorter than 18 inches, that would actually be subject to stricter federal regulations under the National Firearms Act. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And, Stephen, I mean, you're a firearms

expert. That's why we have you on this morning and -- to talk about these things because it is such an important part of this as we learn more about the shooting and what was brought to the actual school with the shooter.

Three guns, we are told, two of them assault-style weapons, one handgun. What do you -- I mean that is a significant amount of firepower that this person had with them at the -- at the scene of this shooting.

GUTOWSKI: Yes, it absolutely is. I mean I think it indicates that they were prepared to wreak a lot more havoc than they were able to actually carry out thanks to relatively quick action from the police in this situation. You know, that 14 minute response time where police immediately engaged the shooter, as they were still shooting, indicates that this person was trying to kill more people and, thankfully, was - was stopped at that point.

LEMON: Can we put the full screen of the guns back up and you can explain to us -- and why they're -- why such a different -- why are you making such a distinction? Explain to us again what the guns were and you said one has -- that would be much stricter -- had much more restrictions on it. Can you please explain that? I think it's important.

GUTOWSKI: Yes, certainly.

So, in these pictures you can see one is a 9mm handgun. The one on -- at the other end is a 9mm carbine, so it has a 16 inch barrel but it shoots that same ammunition. And the one in the middle is an AR-15.

Now, we don't have a picture of it, but you described that they had recovered a sawed off shotgun from what the police have reported. That would be subject to a law called the National Firearms Act, where you'd have to have a registration with the ATF to own one of those firearms. You'd have to pay a $200 tax as well. So that -- potentially if the shooter hadn't registered that firearm, if it is indeed a short barrel rifle -- a shotgun, then, you know, they - they would be breaking federal law in that situation, which could, you know, have a penalty of a federal felony up to 10 years in prison. It's - it's - it'd be interesting to see more details about that firearm even if it wasn't used in the actual attack.

COLLINS: Yes. And what we know is two were purchased legally. We don't know more about the third.

Stephen, thank you for sharing your expertise with us this morning.

LEMON: Philadelphia residents still worry if their tap water is safe to drink after a chemical spill in the Delaware River.


Why they're skeptical about what officials are telling them.



BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Out of the desire to prevent a rift in the nation, I decided to suspend the second and third reading of the law in this session of the Knesset to give time to try and reach a broad agreement.


LEMON: That is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing there that he has pressed pause on -- the pause button on a plan to overhaul the country's judiciary. It follows weeks of mass demonstrations and growing international pressure. Labor leaders have called off the general strike that swept the country after Netanyahu fired his defense minister for speaking out against the legislation. But there are warnings of more strikes if Netanyahu proceeds as planned.

CNN's Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem for us.


Hadas, hello to you.

A bit quieter than when we saw you yesterday. What has the reaction been to delaying the overhaul?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that this is a temporary pause, and he promised that these reforms, which I'll remind you would give the Israeli parliament unprecedented power over the supreme court to even possibly overturn supreme court decisions, that it will happen in one form or another when parliament comes back into session in just about a month.

However, he did say that he is open to negotiations to bring the other side to the table and talk. And opposition leaders, they welcome the pause, but they're being cautious about it. Circumspect. They say that they are happy to engage in negotiations if they're done correctly with the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, as mediator (ph).

Now, we've heard no word yet of when these meetings will take place, but the next parliamentary session is supposed to happen in just about four weeks with the Passover holiday in the middle. So, there's not a lot of time there.

Meanwhile, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far right wing minister of national security, saying today that Netanyahu promised me that if we don't pass reform through negotiation, we will pass it as it stands. Keep in mind that Itamar Ben-Gvir, as part of agreeing to this pause, was promised his own national guard. That's a whole other issue in itself that this right wing minister was promised essentially his own national guard.

But meanwhile the protesters, they say they are not stopping. They do not believe that Netanyahu will engage in real negotiations. They will continue protesting, they say, until these reforms are completely off the table.


LEMON: Hadas Gold, thank you so much.

COLLINS: All right, this morning, as you're waking up, we are monitoring new developments and new details that we are learning out of Nashville after the school shooting that killed three nine-year-old children and three adults at an elementary school.

But first, we're going to talk about history in the making here as the first city in the U.S. passes a resolution that has green-lit reparations for black residents. We'll take you live to Evanston, Illinois.



LEMON: So, Philadelphia officials say the city's tap water is safe to drink, at least until this afternoon. Authorities say dozens of tests since the chemical spill on the Delaware River this weekend have shown no signs of contamination. The city is expected to provide more guidance later today.

CNN's Danny Freeman live from Philadelphia this morning.

Hello, Danny.

Officials say that the water is safe to drink until this afternoon. And then what?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's absolutely right, Don. The city of Philadelphia is trying to reassure residents that the water is absolutely safe, it is not contaminated at all. But we're not out of the woods yet because, as you noted, that guidance is only good until 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. We're still waiting for the answer of if the water is going to be safe to drink later this evening.

Now, again, Don, this all started actually back on Friday when a chemical spill seeped into the Delaware River. It's a little bit north of the city of Philadelphia where that spill happened. Well, the Delaware is, of course, a big source of water for the city of Philadelphia. Then on Sunday, the city issued out of recommendation, saying folks should go out and get bottled water out of an abundance of caution. Well, that lead to an all-out run on water in supermarkets We saw empty shelves. But then later, that same afternoon, on Sunday, they said, actually, you don't need to buy bottled water. The city water is absolutely safe to drink.

Well, we pressed the city yesterday on some of those mixed messages and asking if that would lead to distrust. Well, city officials acknowledged to us yesterday, they said that they may have over communicated and elevated folks sense of anxiety. But they said it was a difficult decision because the alternative in this case was not saying enough if the emergency was greater or not saying anything at all.


LEMON: Danny, do they believe what officials are saying to them?

FREEMAN: You know, it's really tough. Residents we spoke with all day yesterday, they were not taking the city's word for it. They were still going out, buying bottled water.

Take a listen to what one resident told us yesterday as he was carrying cases and cases of water to his car.


JOE SOLE, PHILADELPHIA RESIDENT: Sound like they really don't know what they're talking about. You know , I don't trust the way -- they don't sound confident in what they're telling us. How can it be OK by 12:00 this afternoon, but it's not OK now? You know, or it might be OK six hours from now. You know, I just don't - it's too - I don't believe it.


FREEMAN: But again, the city is maintaining the water is absolutely safe, at least until 3:30. And hopefully this morning we'll get more guidance on if the water will continue to be safe to drink after that.


LEMON: All right, we'll be waiting and watching.

Thank you, Danny Freeman.

COLLINS: Also this morning, the Central Gulf Coast in South Georgia are under flood threats after a series of thunderstorms battered the southeast on Monday. That followed tornadoes that left a swath of destruction in the region over the weekend. An F-3 tornado in Troup County, Georgia, had winds of 150 mph.

Our CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is live in West Point, Georgia.

I mean, Derek, we can see the enormity of the damage behind you. So not only are they dealing with the clean-up of the storms, now residents there have to be worried about flooding.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I think just resonating with the residents here in Troup County is that they're fed up with what mother nature has thrown their way so far this season. You can see the damage from the tornado that occurred on Sunday morning here, literally snapping trees, toppling homes and vehicles, tossing them in the air. And, believe it or not, this is the fourth tornado this year in Troup County, in south central Georgia. That is incredible.

In fact, earlier this year I was in LaGrange, not too far from here, reporting on a similar instance with a similar backdrop with destroyed homes with roofs complete ripped off. And I want to show you just some of the damage that's been left behind by this EF-3 tornado. A lot of memories, children's shoes and a painting - a painting kit. I have children, so this resonates with me as well, to see this type of material just scattered about, the memories.

Now, this has been an unusual season so far. We're coming into the first weeks of spring, right, and we are already 150 percent above average in terms of our tornado count across the country.


Scientists and people who study this are used to seeing tornadoes in tornado alley, right? The high plains, Oklahoma, Texas. But that has not been the case this year. A lot of the storms have formed across the south and into the east. And, unfortunately, we have yet another severe weather set up later this week as these storms that roll from the west coast, causing the atmospheric rivers, they're going to carry that energy inland. They're going to encounter a warmer than average Gulf of Mexico, which is five degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year. And that is going to add fuel to the fire. Allow for more thunderstorms Thursday and Friday you can see across the nation's midsection. That's where we have our severe weather threat later this week. Surely we'll be covering those storms as well.


COLLINS: Yes, feels like the hits just keep on coming.

Derek Van Dam, thank you for tracking it for us.

VAN DAM: Yes, they do.


So, there's another classroom in America that's now a crime scene. We're talking about Nashville mourning the deaths of six innocent victims. We have new video of the moment the shooter entered the school, what police seized at the shooter's home and a new dispatch audio of how all of this unfolded.

COLLINS: And we're also learning more about the nine year old children who were killed, including Halle Scruggs, that you see her here. This is a photo from 2019 with her father, all smiles. He is now the lead pastor of Covenant Church. Halle was his only daughter. Be right back with more details on those we lost.



LEMON: And 2019, Evanston, Illinois, near Chicago, became the first city in the United States to pass a reparations resolution for black residents. At first the program was only for mortgage assistance and renovations. Well, last night, that changed to include a cash option.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has the story.


ROBIN RUE SIMMONS, REPARATIONS ADVOCATE: This is the block that I grew up on.

This was my place of refuge. It was our retreat. It was our sanctuary. It was our castle. It was home.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you didn't know this is the only place your family and families like yours could live.

SIMMONS: I didn't know.

BROADDUS (voice over): Robin Rue Simmons grew up in Evanston's Fifth Ward

SIMMONS: This is the red line map.

BROADDUS: Just north of Chicago, where banks in the city refused to give mortgage loans to black families until 1969.

SIMMONS: There were specific anti-black zoning laws and housing practices that are responsible for our racial segregation. Not only our physical segregation, but our wealth gaps and homeownership gaps.

BROADDUS: That discriminatory housing policy led Simmons, a former alderwoman, to push for reparations, which is highlighted in the documentary "The Big Payback," Senator Mitch McConnell and others oppose.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We've, you know, tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why they would be given more status than any other group of people.

BROADDUS: Under her guidance, in 2019, Evanston became the first city in the United States to award reparations for black residents who qualify.

SIMMONS: It is a $25,000 direct benefit to build wealth through home equity. Black residents that lived in Evanston during the period of harm, which was 1919 to 1969, or their direct descendants, are eligible. And on Monday, the city council approved the cash option to the program with little fanfare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With nine voting in favor and none voting against, the motion carries.

BROADDUS: Initially, funds were restricted to mortgage assistance, renovations or down payment on a home.

RAMONA BURTON, RECEIVED REPARATIONS GRANT: I wasn't planning on buying a new home at my age, so I used it for renovations. BROADDUS: Ramona Burton is among 14 who have received the $25,000


BURTON: I had eight windows replaced, a new roof, a chimney.

BROADDUS: So far, the city says it has only spent about $326,000 of the $10 million promised.


BROADDUS: Kimberly Homes-Ross is among 124 approved but still waiting.

HOLMES-ROSS: My parents weren't even showed houses in this ward in 1962. Everything was over in the Fifth Ward that they were shown and allowed to buy. So, we're looking to either build a whole nother house or add on to our garage.

SIMMONS: It has taken longer than we expected. And some of those challenges have been really underestimating operationalizing the work.

BROADDUS: From Asheville, North Carolina, to Detroit, Michigan, cities across the country are trying to repair harms caused by institutional racism. In San Francisco, a reparations committee is seeking payments proposed of $5 million to every eligible black resident.

BROADDUS (on camera): How will they pay each resident?

SIMMONS: I don't know. And so those are the challenges that we all have as municipalities.


BROADDUS: Meanwhile, back here in Evanston, a spokesperson with the city tells me more than 650 applications have been submitted, but the staff is still sorting through those applications to verify eligibility.

Meanwhile, six people who did qualify died before receiving their payment.


LEMON: All right, Adrienne Broaddus, in Evanston, Illinois. Thank you, Adrienne. Appreciate that.

And we're getting a ton of new information about the deadly shooting rampage in a school in Nashville.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're under a mass casualty alert. Multiple victims down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three children and three adults.