Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Sheriff Says, Texas Massacre Suspect Found Hiding in Closet Under Laundry; U.S. Deploying 1,500 Troops to Border Ahead of Expected Migrant Surge; Today, Fed Expected to Raise Interest Rates Yet Again. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 03, 2023 - 07:00   ET



MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, side effects are really important here. This is not a benign drug to take. The most common things are like brain swelling and these microhemorrhages or bleeds in the brain. And you can see that's a fairly sizable number of people who have those, but some of that was asymptomatic. What you really worry about is when those are severe, and that was seen in just less than 2 percent of patients in this study and two patients died related to that side effect in the trial.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Meg. Welcome to CNN. We'll be seeing a lot of you.

TIRRELL: Thank you so much, happy to be here.

HARLOW: CNN This Morning continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect in the massacre of five people in Texas, including a nine-year-old boy, has been captured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now have this man in custody. He was caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI says a tip from the public came in at 5:15 P.M. At 6:30 P.M., they had actually apprehended him.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The United States military poised to send 1,500 active duty additional troops to the border with Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Military personnel will not directly participate in law enforcement activities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This additional support really underscores just how concerned the administration is about a potential major migrant surge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this text, he said he found himself briefly rooting for a mob of Trump supporters to kill a person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to The New York Times, Carlson wrote, quote, jumping a guy like that is dishonorable. Obviously, it is not how white men fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off. This isn't good for me. I'm becoming something I don't want to be. It's too bad Tucker doesn't realize these things before he says them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House Democrats introducing a bill that would require political campaigns to disclose the use of A.I. in political ads.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I would have known that was made with A.I. if you hadn't said anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just I can create a fake audio of you, Joe Biden, whomever, it's that I can broadcast that to that world instantaneously through social media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Game one belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers.

LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: It's just an honor to be able to play this game at a high level and then also look on the other side and be a part of something that's historic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Knicks tie the series at 1-1.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're a basketball aficionado, you've got to love this series. Great competition, guys going after it, leaving nothing to chance.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Leaving nothing to chance. You were at that Knicks game last night.

HARLOW: I was there last night. My husband totally surprised me for my birthday. What? Obviously, it was on me. No, it's great. It was a great game. It's been ten years since the Knicks have done that.

COLLINS: Yes, it was a great game and this is an exciting series. We'll see how it continues to develop.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN This Morning. We're also tracking massive headlines out of Texas, where the Texas massacre suspect who is accused of gunning down five of his neighbors is now under arrest following a massive manhunt. We are expecting a news conference soon from the sheriff with updates. We'll bring that to you live when it happens.

But to fill you in, the FBI says it received a tip that the suspect was holed up in a house only miles actually away from the murder scene, not in Mexico, like some had suspected he may be. We were told that he was actually found hiding under a pile of laundry inside a closet.

This is the video of Francisco Oropeza being led out of the home in handcuffs where he was then placed inside a truck. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY PAUL, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect's location. We always said, it's not a matter of if but a matter of when the suspect will be caught. And we're extremely glad that today is the when.


COLLINS: On Friday, investigators say that Oropeza stormed into his neighbor's house with an AR-15 and murdered five people, including a nine-year-old boy, Daniel Guzman, after the family had complained about him shooting his gun outside while the baby was shooting.

Here are the other victims this morning. We want you to know their name as well, 25-year-old Sonia Guzman and her son, Daniel, 21-year- old Diana Alvarado, 31-year-old Julisa Rivera, and 18-year-old Jose Casarez. The sheriff says they were shot almost execution-style, at close range, above the neck.

The manhunt lasted four days and stretched all the way down to the Mexico border. This map shows just how close the suspect's hiding place was to the original shooting.

HARLOW: The Texas massacre suspect has been captured, but across the country, more suspected criminals are on the loose. In California, police are searching for a suspect after a string of three stabbing attacks in less than a week near the U.C. Davis campus. In Mississippi, one of four inmates still on the run after escaping from Heinz County Jail on April the 23rd.

Two of the escapees were found dead, one of the others was captured. And then in Virginia, police are searching for two inmates who escaped from the Piedmont Regional Jail just over the weekend. One of them, Alder Marin Sotelo, is charged with the murder of a sheriff's deputy. Authorities say that his sister, Adrianna, has now been arrested after spending $2,500 on a car to help with the escape.

On all of this, let's bring in CNN Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller.


I mean, all of those, we'll talk about the string, but talk about how we went from yesterday morning, authorities in Texas saying they had no leads to then finding Oropeza under a pile of laundry a few miles away holed up in a house?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it's a process, and we've actually talked about it on this show and some of our other broadcasts, which is a fugitive investigation is kind of made out of three concentric circles when you have a fugitive who is on the run. The inner circle is family, the second circle is friends, criminal associates, the third circle is the general public. In this case, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the sheriff's people, they fanned out to every relative, every family member, every friend and made it clear, if you see him, if he calls you, if he comes here, you know, you have to engage with us for his safety, for your safety. What they try to do is cut off those routes. They did the same with friends and associates. And the public, because of the nature of the crime, was also very engaged.

COLLINS: Yes, they were very engaged. And we are waiting to get a news conference. We first heard from them last night after he had been captured. We're now waiting to see what the updates are here. I also want to talk about what's happening though with U.C. Davis, because this is a very scary situation. You think that it's just essentially a formality that they have stopped short of publicly saying this person is a serial killer?

MILLER: That's right. I mean, the pattern, the tight circle of geography, where the crimes are, the connections between the victims, in terms of victimology, not that they knew each other, were connected that way, but similarities, the M.O., the weapon, everything suggests these cases are connected.

What the police are doing is simply saying, until we have that DNA match, maybe blood from the suspect on one of the victims or the other way around, we can't say for certain. But they're handling it as if they're connected.

HARLOW: I mean, they have, I believe, stopped all in-person classes after dusk, basically.

MILLER: Well, what you have here is a night stalker. And when you see those crimes so close together, you really have to operate on the assumption that he's engaging in what profilers call hunting behavior, that he goes out every night looking for victims in a situation where he thinks he can commit the crime and get away.

You know, the first victim was a well-known homeless man and advocate, who was committed to sleeping outdoors in that park and engaging with people. The second victim was a 20-year-old student, but walking at night on a bike path with his long hair and beard could have been mistaken by the offender as a homeless person. The third victim was a homeless woman in a tent.

So, you're seeing a possible pattern of someone stalking homeless people. We saw that in the Stockton serial killer earlier this year. We saw that in the New York Washington case the year before. It's just a question of making that match and then getting this person, who seems to be disorganized as an offender.

COLLINS: You also see a pattern, though, on how these attacks are unfolding, not just the time and the victims, but also how they're essentially blitzing these victims.

MILLER: He's a blitz attacker. He takes them by surprise. And what you see is overkill, numerous stab wounds, far more than it takes to get the victim under control or kill them.

So, what you glean from that is you've got an attacker who's driven possibly by mental illness, paranoia, but definitely by anger. And that spells a likelihood that he is going to keep going until he's stopped.

HARLOW: Yes. John Miller, thank you very much. Sad, very disturbing.

COLLINS: Keep us updated on what you learn.

MILLER: Roger that.

HARLOW: Overnight, the White House announced the U.S. and Mexico have agreed on additional measures to address the border crisis past the lifting of Title 42. That happens at the end of next week. Of course, that is the Trump-era policy that allows officials to expel migrants, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States and Mexico have agreed that the U.S. will continue to provide a pathway for eligible migrants to try to enter the country from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela under its humanitarian parole process and also agreed that Mexico will still continue to take back migrants from those four nations on humanitarian grounds past May 11th, which is the lifting of Title 42.

But this comes as the administration says they're also preparing to send 1,500 troops, active-duty troops, to the southern border for 90 days to join the 2,500 National Guard troops already there. That shows you what they're preparing for. Currently, there are about 7,000 encounters between migrants and border patrol agents every day along the southern border. That number is expected to rise dramatically in the weeks ahead.

And right now, a bus of migrants from Texas chartered by Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, are about to arrive in New York City. Two more buses are expected to arrive throughout the morning.

COLLINS: Joining us now for his perspective on this is former Secretary of Homeland Security, and the former defense department general counsel, Jeh Johnson.


Thank you so much for being here. I mean, your perspective on this is critical to this. This decision by the Pentagon yesterday to send 1,500 U.S. troops to the border in anticipation of next week, with title 42 being lifted, is that going to help, in your view?

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: It will certainly contribute to our border security. We've done this in the past. The huge limitation on sending active duty military to the border is the concept of a Posse Comitatus in the law, which says basically that our military should not engage in domestic law enforcement except expressly authorized by an act of Congress. So, these members of the military will be there in support of the border patrol and customs.

The larger solution to this, which the administration announced a few days ago, are regional processing centers, which I think is a very good idea. Create for people who are desperate to leave their circumstances a lawful safe pathway to a place like the United States or Canada, versus the wrong way, entering our country illegally. It will be important that these regional processing centers be supported, be resourced to create this alternative pathway for people to come here.

COLLINS: Back in 2018, when the caravan that we all talked about right around the midterms with Republicans really used ahead of the actual Election Day then, Trump decided to send 5,000 troops to the southern border to help with that. You said at the time, you thought that it would be limited at best how much they would be able to really help with what was happening at the border. So, has that changed here? Is it actually going to help in a significant way, or do you think sending these U.S. forces to the border will still be limited, at best, in how it can help?

JOHNSON: It will be limited because the limits on what they can actually do.

COLLINS: Because they're not doing law enforcement or anything like that?

JOHNSON: They're not engaging directly with law enforcement. They're not engaging directly in interdicting migrants and sending them back. They are there in support. It does help in certain limited ways, but the larger solution to the larger problem is addressing the problem at the source in Central America, in Haiti, in Venezuela, in Nicaragua, and creating lawful, safe pathways for people who are desperate to leave their circumstances.

COLLINS: What about the images that this creates? Because Senator Bob Menendez, he's a Democrat, obviously an ally of this administration, he said they're militarizing the border by sending these U.S. forces there. He says, there's already a humanitarian crisis, but deploying military personnel only signals that migrants are a threat that requires our nation's troops.

JOHNSON: What's going on in our southern border right now is a very serious, significant problem with no easy solutions. We need to put a lot of resources on our southern border to address this problem. The U.S. military, in my judgment, has a limited role to play, because of Posse Comitatus. But they can support DHS on the southern border.

As I said before, this is a big problem. It's bigger than when I was in office. And you've got to address it at the source. You just simply have to address it at the source. These people are desperate for a better life, even if it means only staying here for a few years while their asylum claim is pending.

The other imperative we face right now, which is, in my judgment, is a problem equal if not greater in magnitude is the fentanyl, the smuggling of fentanyl into this country, flowing north from Mexico. Our national government has to address that problem as well.

COLLINS: How? What do you do for something like that?

JOHNSON: More drug interdiction at the ports, more support at the ports, more customs. Drug smuggling, typically occurs at ports, not over land borders. And people are dying because of the fentanyl crisis in this country. And so while we're focused on people coming across our land borders, we need to also be focused on the significant fentanyl problem, which is costing lives on a daily basis.

COLLINS: And it's a rare issue that gets bipartisan support because of how many -- it is not Democrat or a Republican issue. Everyone understands fentanyl is a crisis.

But the other aspect of this is what we're seeing is mayors and governors who were having issues with migrants who were being sent to their cities, where you've seen Governor Greg Abbott saying in recent days, the Texas governor, that they're going to be sending migrants to Chicago, basically saying border cities and border towns have to deal with the pressure of this way more than other cities.

Democratic Mayor Eric Adams here in New York, we saw -- as of right now, we have these live pictures at the port authority here in New York, where migrants are arriving, and he said yesterday, it's the irresponsibility of the Republican Party in Washington for refusing to do real immigration reform.


But he also said it's the irresponsibility of the White House for not addressing the problem either. Do you agree?

JOHNSON: I agree that it is unfair to expect communities along the border in the southwest to absorb this problem all by themselves but what should not happen is that Governor Abbott or Governor DeSantis get to decide how to relocate migrants in the interior of this country.

There should be, much like he had with refugees about seven or eight years ago, there should be a nationally coordinated effort to ask states, ask municipalities to absorb this issue, to take on and resettle migrants that cross our southern border and coordinate it across the country. Don't leave it to Governor Abbott or Ron DeSantis to decide where they should go.

COLLINS: Yes. One of the criticisms we heard from Lori Lightfoot, who was on the show the other day, there was no coordination, at least on it, though, there were still issues of whether or not they were absolving too much of it.

You ran DHS. If you were in that same position right now, and May 12th came around next week with the lifting of Title 42, what would you be doing differently than what is happening right now?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm not in the job.

COLLINS: But if you were?

JOHNSON: It's a much bigger problem than when I was in the job. I would be constantly sending the message over and over again that there's a right way and a wrong way to come here. The wrong way is to cross our southern border illegally. If you come here, we will send you back. Address the safe, lawful ways to come here so that you give people an avenue to come here safely in a controlled way, but continually send the message, come here unlawfully, we will send you back.

I even, when I was in office, went to Central America, held a press conference at the airport, welcoming migrants back from the United States, who were deported back to their home countries, so that the local press and people there could see that we were actually sending people back. The administration needs to, in my judgment, continually send that message. They've been doing a lot of this. But in Washington, you have to receipt yourself 50 times before anybody listens.

COLLINS: Do you think Mayorkas should be doing that more and louder?

JOHNSON: He seems to be doing it now constantly and I think it's an important message to send. We can send people back, we should send people back consistent with our laws and our values.

COLLINS: Jeh Johnson, perfect person to speak about this, this morning, thank you, and we hope you'll come back as we continue to cover this.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

HARLOW: Today, the Federal Reserve is set to announce a high-stakes interest rate decision right after the third U.S. bank failure in just two months. Economists are expecting the central bank to approve a final quarter-point increase and will be looking for a signal about a long-awaited pause, maybe.

Our Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans is with us now. Do you think that's what happens?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I think that's what's most likely to happen. They're on this big inflation flight and they have been on this big crew said. This is what it looks like, a year of interest rate hikes. I think you're going to see another 25 basis points here. And so that will be the tenth in a row. And this is what has made the Fed funds. We've gone from zero percent, essentially free money to 5 percent, near 5 percent for the Fed funds target. And that's rippling throughout the economy.

And it's this balancing act that now the Fed has. It started as an inflation crusade but now we're starting to see the job market show signs of cooling off. Inflation is cooling, but still too high. You've got a debt limit fight, Poppy, and then all of these bank failures.

I mean, just look at the size of these bank failures. We looked at this yesterday, you and I together. These are these three big bank failures that we've seen brought on by stress revealed in the system from all of those higher interest rates. Compare that with the bad old days of 2008.

And then, you know, this is like the scariest screen I have for you here. We have a debt ceiling fight, which is a self-inflicted problem on top of all of this other garbage that the Fed is dealing with, and not very many days. That looks like nine days to me to figure out a problem that could send the world into a financial crisis.

HARLOW: To bring two parties that are at a complete impasse together to stave off an economic calamity.

ROMANS: I know.

HARLOW: No big deal.

ROMANS: And that's completely separate from the inflation problem and all these other things that the Fed is having to deal.

There are some who are saying, should we be raising interest rates again when we had --

HARLOW: That's what Sheila Bair, the former FDIC chair, just told us.

ROMANS: And that was a great interview. And also, I mean, look at all of these hikes, Poppy. This hasn't all been felt in the system yet. This all happens on a leg (ph). So, all of this has not rippled through yet. So, that's why some people are saying, how about we hike and pause, hike and hold, or maybe just wait and see.

HARLOW: Right. Thank you, Christine. We'll see what can get done. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes. Also this morning, we are now seeing the new text message from Tucker Carlson that set off a panic inside Fox News and may have led to his firing.

HARLOW: Also, Jay Leno passing out donuts to pick donuts to picketers outside of Disney in solidarity with the writers union that is on strike, something he also did during the 2007 strike. Coming up, the lates on where these negotiations stand.



HARLOW: Welcome back to CNN This Morning. We are waiting for a press conference to begin in Coldspring, Texas, in just a few minutes there. The chief deputy sheriff of San Jacinto County will speak about the suspect they've arrested in that murder of five family members, including an eight-year-old.

COLLINS: Yes. And as we wait on that update, we also have new reporting overnight as we are learning what Tucker Carlson had texted that became so worrisome to executives at Fox News and the board there, that reportedly contributed to his firing. The New York Times first reporting on this message last night.

It was sent on January 7th, 2021, just hours after what had happened at the Capitol that day. Carlson was talking about a video that he saw of Trump supporters beating up the person that he described as an Antifa kid. It was redacted in the Dominion lawsuit court filings, but these reporters got a hold of it. Here's what part of The Times says is behind a box of text that you see there.

Quote, it was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable, obviously.


It's not how white men fight. Yet, suddenly, I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they'd hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off. This isn't good for me. I'm becoming something I don't want to be.

The Times was only unable to unveil the contents of that text through interviews that people who spoke on the condition of being anonymous. CNN reached for comment. Fox has declined to comment, so has Carlson.

Joining us now is Writer-at-Large for The New York Times Jim Rutenberg, who contributed to breaking this story for The New York Times.

I mean, this -- people after the abrupt departure of Carlson from Fox News a little over a week ago, there were major questions of what was it that led to this. And your reporting is that this was a big part of it, because they saw it the day after they were supposed to go to trial for that Dominion lawsuit, right?

JIM RUTENBERG, WRITER-AT-LARGE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, this was part of it. Look, a lot went into that firing. I think we'll still learn about more that may have gone into that firing, but this was definitely a moment where the members of the Fox board and even some senior executives apparently start focusing on this at the 11th hour, while they're in settlement talks. This is a settlement, you might remember, that ends up being almost $1 billion.

So, here's Tucker Carlson, not a huge part of the actual lawsuit, but his texts are taking over. They're really becoming an issue in the suit.

Jim, stand by. Let me get to this press conference in Coldspring, Texas. Let's listen into the chief deputy sheriff of San Jacinto County.

CHIEF DEPUTY SHERIFF TIM KEAN, SAN JACINTO COUNTY, TEXAS: -- investigation, okay? I'm not going to say the guy's name. You guys know his name. He's in this jail right here. I don't think he deserves the glory for what he's done.

REPORTER: Can you give us any updates on interviews with the people who were at the house where he was arrested? Are they arrested, any other arrests?

KEAN: There has been several arrests. But I can't go into the details on that.

REPORTER: Was there any conversation when (INAUDIBLE)? KEAN: There was -- no, nothing -- nothing major. I mean, just a little simple flurry of resistance, but they had a K-9 dog, from what I understand, and there's no injuries of any kind.

REPORTER: Can you tell us (INAUDIBLE)?

KEAN: The house is connected.

REPORTER: Can you confirm it's his sister's house?

KEAN: I'm not going to say anything about that right now, because the investigation is still -- we're still going.

REPORTER: You said there were several arrests. Is it two, three, four?

KEAN: I'm not going to go into that right now because others are hinging on what's going on right now. So, it's in progress.

REPORTER: Are more arrests expected?

KEAN: Possibly.

REPORTER: Has he said anything --

KEAN: Yes, it's been more than one.

REPORTER: Has Oropeza said anything or have you found the weapon that he used?

KEAN: As of now, we may have the weapon, but we have to wait for ballistics. So, I can't confirm.

REPORTER: And have you spoken? Has he said anything? Could you (INAUDIBLE)?

KEAN: We have spoken with him, yes.


KEAN: Yes, yes.

REPORTER: Is he going to have to (INAUDIBLE)?

KEAN: All that will happen this morning is his bond will be set and that will be done in jail by a judge.

REPORTER: Is it $5 million now?

KEAN: Yes, it will be $5 million. Yes.



REPORTER: Have the other people that have been arrested, have they been booked into the jail already as well?

KEAN: Some have.

REPORTER: How many people are you getting there?

KEAN: I can't go into the -- it's fluid right now. I can't go into that. No, it's not more than five, no.

REPORTER: And they were inside the house at the time of the arrest?

KEAN: No. One was close, but that's --

REPORTER: Do you think he was there the entire time the last four days?

KEAN: No, he wasn't.


KEAN: I can't say at the moment. I don't know for sure. I don't want to give you anything that's not a true, accurate statement, okay?


KEAN: We think we know how he got there, but we have to -- you know, we have to prove that out.


KEAN: I'm not going to go into his exact route that we think it is, until we can prove what it is, okay?


KEAN: No, it wasn't.

REPORTER: Did you -- is there any indication that he was about to leave this particular house and get on the move again?

KEAN: Not when he was caught.