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Man Reportedly Opens Fire on Family Due to Basketball Accidentally Rolling into His Yard; Incidents of Americans Firing Guns Inappropriately Examined; Tornado Kills Two in Oklahoma; House Select Committee on China Hosts Wargame to Act Out Potential Chinese Attack on Taiwan. Aired 8-8:30a ET.

Aired April 20, 2023 - 08:00   ET



DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And look, as you said, according to neighbors, this all began because children were playing basketball. The ball rolled down the street into Robert Singletary's yard. They say he became angry and then ran down the street shooting. According to that little girl and her mother, they say that her father shielded her as they ran away. Four people in total injured in this, the girl's mother, her father, who remains in the hospital here in the Charlotte area, as well as the little girl, and another person who was shot that the police say was not injured.

Now, look, they do say that 24-year-old Robert Singletary is to be considered armed and dangerous. They are searching for him at this time. And again, according to the neighbors, Poppy, Don, this was just about a basketball in the yard, in his yard. He became angry and upset and then started shooting.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Dianne, thank you for that reporting. Please keep us posted as this manhunt continues.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And so many shootings and so many to discuss here. Wrong house. Wrong driveway. Wrong car. Three different shootings across the nation have left young Americans either dead or seriously wounded after they made simple, harmless mistakes, mistakes that we've all made. We've all turned around in the driveway and were lost or had the wrong directions. Everyone has done it. Sixteen-year- old Ralph Yarl rang the doorbell of the wrong house. That was in Kansas City. He thought that his younger brothers were there, was a street instead of a terrace, right, the name of the street. So he is now recovering from a traumatic brain injury after the white homeowner inside that house shot him in the head. That suspect is already out on bail.

This is what his grandson told me just moments ago.


LEMON: Do you believe your grandfather is racist?

KLINT LUDWIG, GRANDSON OF 84-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO SHOT RALPH YARL: I believe he has some racist tendencies. LEMON: Did your grandfather have a gun or more weapons in the house?

LUDWIG: They were all over, yes.

LEMON: What do you mean, "they"?

LUDWIG: The guns are all over. He had them stashed in some spots and had a big blocker full of them. But, yes, he was ready to defend his home, as he would say. I'm really sad this happened. He didn't need to do this. This didn't have to happen. He didn't need to be scared of a young kid coming to his door at night. It's absurd.


LEMON: In Texas, two cheerleaders were shot after opening the door of the wrong car after practice. One of them had her spleen removed. She is breathing on her own again at the hospital.

And in upstate New York, a 20-year-old woman is dead after she pulled into the wrong driveway with her friends. The suspect opened fire from his porch. He has been charged with murder. The victim's father now.


ANDY GILLIS, KAYLIN GILLIS' FATHER: For this man to sit on his porch and fire at a car with no threat is just -- angers me so badly. And I just hope to God that he dies in jail.


LEMON: And according to the Giffords Law Center, the U.S. has a higher rate of gun violence than any other high income country, any other high income country. There are more guns in the U.S. than there are people. And since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 12,000 gun violence deaths. And those include homicide, intentional and unintentional shootings, and suicide by gun. We're only in April now.

I'm going to bring in now CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, Mr. John Miller. John, good morning to you. I want to talk about what's going on, get to those statistics in the moment. But let's talk about these instances of young people we have here seemingly just by making everyday mistakes that we all make, and then some of them losing their lives. Others injured and still in the hospital. How do you make sense of the recent series of gun violence?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, I divide into three places. There's crime guns being used by criminals to commit crimes. This is an age old experience. Police have gotten very adept in that field. That crime isn't where it was, say, 15 or 20 years ago. Then there are the mass shooter guns. By and large, our experience, because how many have we reported on that we can't even count? Those guns are generally legal and come in multiples, they're assault weapons.

Then there's this new phenomenon we've focused on this week because it seems to be presenting itself, which is the legal gun owner with the hair trigger in an otherwise benign situation. I got into the wrong car. I came down the wrong driveway. I knocked on the wrong door.


These things do not justify shootings. So the question is, and I did not come with the answer is, how did we cross over this? Is it a question of, we keep talking about rising crime, increased fear, the criminal justice system is broken, that people need to take care of problems themselves, and how we reidentified what's a problem that requires deadly force because none of these seem to fit within the laws that allow you to use that kind of force, including the stand your ground laws.

HARLOW: It's interesting, I was just looking at this statistic that during COVID, nearly 3 million more American adults bought guns than in the prior year in 2020. This is from Northeastern University in Harvard.

MILLER: If you look at that statistic, that year, what you see is COVID, right, so people are locked down at home. But they're seeing shortages in stores. Now they're looking at, where is this crisis going? Is it the zombie apocalypse? Are people going to be -- they're looking at disorder across the country, George Floyd demonstrations that turned into disorder or looting, Minneapolis burnings. In Seattle, they're taking over a police station, and they have nothing to do. They're at home.

It's interesting about guns and gun sales. Number one gun sale days are Christmas, black Friday, for the sales, the day after Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day has consistently been the number three biggest gun sale day in America. It's those four days in February leading up to Valentine's Day where nothing says I love you like a new assault weapon.

LEMON: Since you brought up COVID, we were listening to Kling Ludwig, the grandson of the man who shot --

MILLER: Fascinating.

LEMON: Yes, fascinating interview because, he said, according to him, recently he had been more isolated. He had been home. He had sort of gotten into conspiracy theories. QAnon, sitting watching television all day, people who are demonizing people of color, and so on and so forth. I'm just wondering how much, and I asked him, what were the warning signs, and he says, those are the warning signs to him.

MILLER: Well, that is this bad combination. And these things aren't necessarily related, but number one, there's the steady diet of fear. The latest mass shooting, crime is on the rise, shootings are on the rise. And you know that is inundating. Then there is issues in the criminal justice system. I think Congressman Jordan came up here to look at the Manhattan D.A. in the city where it's the safest major city and crime is at reasonable historic lows. But you still have a prosecutor there were 46 percent of the gun arrests are dismissed with no penalty, no plea, no conviction. So there's this idea that crime is on the rise, which in some places it is, but not every place, that the criminal justice system is broken, which, in some places that's a real question, and that it's left us to defend ourselves.

And there are places, the QAnon echo chambers, certain other outlets where you get that steady diet of we've got to take things in our own hands. Pull your money out of the bank. The banks are going away. Just by gold and keep your guns at home, and the government's going to try to take them away so you better get more.

HARLOW: Do you expect that this problem will increase, this will be exacerbated given the Supreme Court's decision on guns last year, because it makes many laws challenged, and they're losing in court. Many states that are trying to institute new laws are losing in court because they're saying the Bruen decision means you can't do that.

MILLER: And many states that had existing laws that kept them at the very low end of gun crime, like New York City, have lost those laws. So I think there's a good possibility of that, because what we do know statistically is more guns means more shootings, more suicides, more accidental discharges, more children finding them in the home. The numbers have always told that story.

LEMON: John, before you go, I just want to -- what was the thing -- we had more in any civilized western nation we have the most shootings out of anyone. The most gun deaths, most violence.

MILLER: Well, there's a surprise. The U.S. military, the most powerful force on the planet earth, has 4.5 million guns, and just the regular folks walking around have 400 million, and we only have 380 something million people.

LEMON: Higher rate of gun violence and any other high income country, and people talk about the mental health aspect. Well, if we have a bigger mental health issue, that's a problem, too, isn't it?

MILLER: That's one of the factors.

LEMON: That is a huge problem that we need to talk about. What are we doing to cause that, why are we having that? Thank you, John Miller, appreciate it.

MILLER: Thanks.

HARLOW: Thank you.

This morning, two people dead in Oklahoma after this really powerful tornado outbreak, and there are fears it could grow in terms of the death toll. At least 14 tornadoes ripped across the state. Also, Kansas and Iowa. Oklahoma was the hardest hit overnight. At least four confirmed tornadoes. The victims were killed in Cole, Oklahoma. That's home no more than 600 people.


Damage reports include entire homes being destroyed, downed power lines, and twisted store signs. About 20,000 homes and business owners lost power. Officials say hundreds of first responders were conducting search and rescue along a 10-mile path of destruction. One meteorologist there saw a twister himself. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the winds flowing into the tornado. Oh, big power flashes hitting Cole right now. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, this is incredible. Back up a little bit more. We're fine where we're at. The tornado is getting stronger right back over here to the left. It's moving extremely slowly.


HARLOW: Now the severe storm threat is shifting east toward parts of Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, and much of Arkansas. Don?

LEMON: So the House Select Committee on China hosted a wargame last night to act out a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan. The goal is to help ensure Congress knows what weapons systems must be used, where they need to be deployed, and what munitions they'll likely run out of during the potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Here's what Taiwan's foreign minister recently told CNN's Jim Sciutto about that possibility.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Is Beijing, in your view, threatening Taiwan with war?

JOSEPH WU, TAIWAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER: Yes, indeed. Look at their military exercises and also their rhetoric. This seems to be trying to get ready to launch a war against Taiwan.


LEMON: So joining us now to discuss, retired U.S. Army Major Mike Lyons. Thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us. So what types of information might the members of Congress be looking for in terms of how prepared Taiwan and China and the U.S. would be for a potential conflict, Mike?

MAJOR MIKE LYONS, U.S. ARMY (RET): I think, Don, first and foremost, you look at a map and you say how would China make this attack? How would they go into Taiwan? And clearly, they're going to have a superiority from the air and the sea. So those are the two assumptions that they'll make. So likely they'll look to reinforce Taiwan with air defense platforms and possibly platforms for antimissile defense. Every single major city in Taiwan is under this umbrella of attack potentially coming from the Chinese, from the air alone. This is before the United States is even engaged in the fight.

LEMON: And this is serious stuff, right? We're talking about a war between China, Taiwan, and the U.S. What would that mean in terms of losses?

LYONS: Yes, I think that, first of all, when does the United States engage? The United States likely doesn't engage initially if the attack just comes from the air. But until there's some kind of attack that would come potentially amphibiously from China itself, you're looking at the no match that the Taiwanese military would have against an invasion force from China.

And so from a wargame perspective, if the United States gets involved at that point in time, then the U.S. could potentially lose a battle carrier, could lose aircraft carriers, could lose tens of thousands of service members, hundreds of airplanes. The losses would be significant, and those are the kind of things they have to consider if they decide to attack.

LEMON: Some might be wondering, given how costly a war is with the U.S., is it a foregone conclusion that the U.S. would in fact go to war to defend Taiwan? What are officials saying about, what is the policy on that?

LYONS: The policy right now is strategic ambiguity, and it's that way on purpose. If you think specifically right now, we're all about keeping the Taiwanese in a self-defense platform and a capability and a posture, and that's more important, as opposed to saying we would definitely come to their defense like a NATO ally. We would have to do that.

So I'm not sure. The American president would have to decide at the time if we engage kinetically, because if we decide to use submarines, for example, and attack Chinese forces as they're coming into Taiwan, then what keeps China then from attacking us bases in the Pacific. What keeps China from escalating to a nuclear event to destroy a U.S. city?

LEMON: And this reporting from "The Washington Post" about these recently leaked intelligence documents in the Chinese drone program.


LEMON: What did they find?

LYONS: Yes, a couple things. First, they're showing that the Chinese have tremendous capability at very high altitudes with a drove that right now is going to be area denial. It's going to deny the United States this capability to have any kind of air superiority there in the Pacific. That's number one. Number two, it could potentially become an armed operation where that would cause, again, a kinetic problem for the Chinese soldiers on the ground.

But it also showed, the Discord leak showed that Taiwan lacks significant air defense capability at all. If there's one thing Ukraine has shown other countries is you better step up your air defense platforms, Patriot missiles and the like. Any of these companies that are making those things are going to be very busy for the next 10 years because countries recognize that the first threat comes from the air. This is a good example of the Chinese making sure.

LEMON: Fascinating, and always good information. Thank you. Mike Lyons, appreciate it, Major Mike Lyons. Thank you. Poppy? [08:15:00]

HARLOW: At least 78 people have been killed, dozens more injured after a devastating crowds surge in Yemen's capital.

We want to warn you, this is a disturbing video to watch.


HARLOW (voiceover): This happened during an event to mark the end of Ramadan where two merchants will reportedly, handing out the equivalent of about $10.00 in cash to needy residents. Look at that, that is the aftermath, and it shows shoes and shawls left behind heaped into piles. Officials say the two merchants have been arrested.


HARLOW: And just in NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg is in Ukraine this morning and it's his first trip to the country since the Russian invasion last year and it highlights the Alliance's commitment to helping Kyiv and the entire country defend itself. Speaking with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Stoltenberg says Ukraine's rightful place is in NATO.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Mr. President, I'm here today with a simple message. NATO stands with Ukraine. We stood by you after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. We stand by you today in your heroic fight against the Russian invaders and in defense of your country.


HARLOW: Russia's responded reiterating -- the reiterating its warning I should say that Ukraine must not be allowed to join NATO the Alliance expanding towards Russia's borders is one of the various reasons Moscow has previously given for this invasion.

LEMON: A key abortion pill will stay available for now while the Supreme Court decides whether to take it off the market. The House Democratic Whip. Katherine Clark is fighting to protect access to medication. She's going to join us live next.



HARLOW: The Supreme Court setting a new deadline for tomorrow night as it considers whether to preserve or limit a widely used abortion drug. At issue is the scope of the FDA authority to regulate a drug mifepristone, that the medical community has deemed safe and effective. Mifepristone has been used by millions of women across the country for more than two decades, been a market for 23 years. How this dispute ultimately resolved? Could make it more difficult for women to obtain abortion through medication? Even in the states that still allow. Some top Democratic lawmakers are vowing to fight to protect access to it, watch.


REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): We will use every tool at our disposal to protect the right to control your own body. And we will call out the MAGA agenda for what it is, anti-science, anti-woman, anti-freedom.


HARLOW: That is the number two House Democrat Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and she joins me live now. Good morning.

CLARK: Good morning, Poppy.

HARLOW: We will see by tomorrow night what the Supreme Court decides to do here. But I wonder what your reaction is to at least this delay that they have instituted?

CLARK: You know, we're going to watch what the Supreme Court does. But let's talk about what's at stake with this opinion we anticipate coming down. First, this is part of the extreme GOP's dangerous march to a national abortion ban already in this country. We see 20 million women have been denied care in states that have banned abortion. Just recently, a six-weeks ban coming out of Florida. What does this mean? It means that women who are the victims of rape and incest are being forced into parenthood.

Women are being put in their lives -- put in peril by being told they can't have miscarriage care until they run a fever and have sepsis set in. This is a real impact when we see government overreach into women's lives. And the other thing about this opinion? Is just what you mentioned, 23 years of safe and effective use. And this judge ideologically based, has put science aside and threatened not only this drug but every single drug that has been approved by the FDA.

HARLOW: There is an exception for rape and incest, victims of rape and incest in the -- in the Florida bill that was just signed by Governor DeSantis. But in many other states, recently passing similar bills there is not. As a leading member, as a member of House leadership, can you level with the American people about realistically what Democrats can actually do about this, if the Supreme Court affirms a lower court ruling? And mifepristone gets pulled what can you really do?

CLARK: What we can do is take back the House, keep the Senate and the White House because this is so fundamental. We are going to energize and mobilize, and the American people are with us because this is what they understand. When the government is coming in politicians are making decisions for your family. That should be between you, your family members, your doctor and your faith, that is not freedom. And that is what is going to be on the ballot in 2024. And we've seen the American people respond when we had abortion bans. They lost in places like Kansas and Montana. We recently had a Supreme Court election in the State of Wisconsin. Abortion is understood by the American people as fundamental health care and as fundamental freedom and equality. HARLOW: Well, you are a year and a half away from that. And so, are you basically saying to the American people the only way -- if we don't prevail in the Supreme Court, the only way for us to do something about this is to control both chambers in the White House and 2024?

CLARK: Yes, we're going to use every tool we have and we're going to use every option that we have.

HARLOW: But what are those tools?

CLARK: We can look at going back to the FDA. We can look at putting people on record here in Congress, bringing forcing these votes on the floor to make sure that we are putting everyone on record on where they stand, on making women second-class citizens in this country. We have tools that we can use even in the minority in the house. Well. let's be clear, this President understands that abortion is fundamental health care. And we're going to use every tool that they have to protect this fundamental right.


HARLOW: When you say we can go back to the FDA, what are you saying? What specifically can you do? Would you want the FDA to ignore the Supreme Court's decision if it doesn't fall, your way?

CLARK: This isn't about ignoring it, but one option is to have the FDA go through the process again for this drug. I don't know if that'll be an option that we choose. But it is a tool before us, and we have to look at everything we can do to make sure that we protect this right. This is -- this is about who we're going to be as a country. Are we really going to roll back a right that has been here for 50 years? You have seen the American people want us to fight for them. They want their voices heard in Capitol Hill. That's exactly what we're going to do.

HARLOW: That's an interesting approach, the FDA would have to decide if they wanted to take it and it would take a pretty long time to process, but it is one potential approach. I really appreciate your time and your perspective on this Congresswoman, thank you.

CLARK: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Appreciate it, Don?

LEMON: Fox News may have reached a historic $787 million settlement with Dominion voting systems this week, but its legal headaches are far from over yesterday. Reuters reported company's own shareholders have set their sights on Rupert Murdoch and Foxes board saying that they are poised to bring lawsuits against them for quote, "Breaching their fiduciary oversight duties by failing to block the network's flawed reporting despite red flag warnings. It's red flag warnings.

That is something that renowned Yale Professor, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld told CNN was likely to happen in email last month. And he wrote quote, "Murdoch only controls 39 percent of the company. So, any of the 61 percent of shareholders can sue for misconduct, failure of management oversight, and conscious inadequate diligence. And Foxes legal troubles dun in there either. Voting technology company Smartmatic is suing Fox News in a defamation case worth $2.7 billion. That's over a billion more than what Dominion was initially seeking in damages.

And the statement on Tuesday, Smartmatic's attorney saying this, "Dominion's litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by foxes disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest. Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy." According to The New York Times, Fox said this in response, "We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial likely in 2025." Stay tuned.

HARLOW: One of the Oklahoma officials allegedly heard on a secret recording making racist and threatening remarks has resigned. We'll have those details ahead. Plus, don't panic, don't overbuy. How officials in South Florida are trying to tackle a gas shortage.