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CNN This Morning

8 Killed, 7 Wounded In Shooting At Dallas-Area Outlet Mall; At Least 103 Wildfires Burning Across Alberta Amid Hot, Dry Spring; Border Cities Brace For Massive Migrant Influx As Title 42 Nears End; 11,000 WGA Union Members Strike; Buttigieg: Air Traffic Controllers Understaffed Across the Country; Fresh Look At Napping; Severe Storms Forecasted Across Parts Of Midwest. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 07, 2023 - 08:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Victor Blackwell.


We begin in Allen, Texas, where at least eight people have been killed in yet another mass shooting in America. Authorities say a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall just north of Dallas as hundreds of people were shopping.

BLACKWELL: Footage from one witness's dash cam shows the moment the shooter got out of his car, started shooting. We are pausing it, though, before the shooting starts.

Another witness recorded as people tried o get away from the attacker. We are warning you what you are about to watch may be hard for you to see.


BLACKWELL: You can see the people there running. You hear the gunshots. Police say an officer responded to the shooting, killed the shooter. Here is how the mayor of Allen reacted.


MAYOR KEN FULK, ALLEN, TEXAS: Allen is a proud and safe city, which makes today's senseless act of violence even more shocking. However, I want to commend our police and fire departments for their quick response. Their thorough training not to hesitate to move toward the threat likely saved more lives today than what we could imagine.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Isabel Rosales joins us now.

So this officer who ended all of this just happened to be there for some other call.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. It's really a miracle. Who knows how many lives this officer saved in the process? Was there at the outlet mall, totally on an unrelated call, heard the sound of the shooting, then followed the sound immediately confronted, shot, and killed that gunman.

There is very little we know about this gunman. Police have not named him. Police do believe he acted alone.

CNN has obtained a picture of what appears to be the gunman down on the ground right there. We have cropped out a police officer standing over him and the actual full picture showing the body of the gunman because obviously this is very graphic.

But in this picture, it appears he had body armor and several extra magazines strapped on to his chest gear. There by his side an AR-15 style weapon.

This whole incident was extremely traumatizing to the many customers and workers at the outlet mall who not only saw the shooter committing this act of mass murder, but also the aftermath, the bodies on the ground. CNN affiliate KTVT spoke with a man who raced through the Outlet mall after his son called him saying the shooting occurred right outside the H&M where he worked.

He raced to the scene there and immediately started performing CPR. There were some people he just could not save.


STEVEN SPAINHOUER, PERFORMED CPR ON VICTIMS: I never imagined in a hundred years I would be thrust into the position of being the first responder on the site to take care of people. The first girl I walked up to was crouched down, covering her head, in the bushes. So, I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side, and she had no face.

When I rolled the mother over, he came out. I asked him, are you okay? He said, my mom is hurt. My mom is hurt. So rather than traumatize him anymore I put him around the corner, set him down. He was covered head to toe like somebody poured blood on him.

No one can see what they saw today and not be affected by it.


It's not a situation that I would wish upon anybody, JD. It's just unfathomable to see the carnage.


ROSALES: Absolutely horrific. And you can't even imagine the pain that the next of kin, these family members of those impacted, getting those calls in the middle of the night or even today in the morning that their loved one is gone. Eight victims killed. Three of the seven survivors -- they are going to critical surgery. And as you mentioned, victims as young as 5 years old.

WALKER: Senseless. Isabel Rosales, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

WALKER: All right. Let's go now to Jasmine Wright. She's live at the White House.

Jasmine, the president once again being briefed on a mass shooting and, of course, we will get a response. I'm sure it will sound very similar to the previous response.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, you're right, Amara. The president was briefed. The White House confirmed to us yesterday. Now, we first saw President Biden around the 4:00 p.m. hour here Eastern Time leaving to go to mass, something he does every weekend. And the 6:00 p.m. hour, he left mass to come back to the White House and was asked about the shooting.

At that time, he said he was unaware of the situation. Around 8:00 p.m. we heard from the White House, who said that President Biden was briefed and the White House was monitoring the situation very closely, in touch with law enforcement officials as well as local officials on the ground.

Now, you're right. We are still waiting for a more fulsome comment on the shooting in Allen, Texas, from the White House, from the president, but this is something he has had to routinely address as president, particularly this year, talking in depth about the mass shootings happening across the country. One thing we know is that he uses these opportunities to once again demand Congress to do something when it comes to gun control measures, specifically he wants to see Congress put back in place an assault style weapons ban.

Now, we saw in that photo just a few moments ago an AR-15 appeared to be close by, where the gunman was. So, likely President Biden will talk about this again when we hear from him. But, of course, we know just looking at the congressional makeup right now that any sort of gun control measure is unlikely to happen in the House or the Senate.

So, that leaves President Biden once again trying to act alone. Something that he says he has extended all his executive ability to do and it is congress's time to step up. So, President Biden will wake up this morning at the White House behind me this morning once again to a nation in mourning -- Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, unlikely to see action on the federal and unlikely to see at the state level legislatively as well there in Texas.

Jasmine Wright for us at the White House, thank you.

Here with us to discuss now is our CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey.

Chief, good to see you. I wonder, and we heard from Isabel Rosales and said there is so little

we know about the shooter. We heard from Juliette Kayyem earlier that she was pretty critical of local officials, not releasing details. Would you have expected by now more than 12 hours after the shooting to know more about the victims, the weapon, the shooter, how much he had on him officially?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yeah. By now, I would have expected to have heard a lot more. We have a photo of a weapon laying next to an individual. Pretty safe to assume that was the weapon that was used, an assault style weapon. That kind of information needs to be coming from the officials.

You need factual information. Who is this person? What is their background? How did they get their hands on the gun?

The officer that ultimately killed this individual, a little bit more about that officer. What is a real concrete timeline? They said 3:36 I believe is when the shooting started. We don't know how long it took before the officer was able to locate the individual and take him down.

Was that officer wearing body -- a body camera? I mean, there is a lot of information still missing in this particular case. By now, I would think that authorities would be providing more information than they have.

WALKER: From the little that we know, it seems like this shooting spree was indiscriminate. It seems like time and time again we're seeing these gunmen, you know, wearing body armor, plenty of ammunition. Using these assault style rifles and, clearly, there was some kind of planning that went into this.

Why are we seeing this in terms of, you know, the seemingly preparations for war?

RAMSEY: Well, there is a variety of reasons probably but some is just copy cat. You have somebody probably watching this right now, who is thinking about doing something like that, unfortunately. That is the world we live in right now. No action is taken to really stop these folks from getting their hands on guns.

We have assault weapons in our society. There is no reason for the civilian population to have assault rifles, period.


It just isn't. These extended magazines. But absolutely, nothing is going to happen in my opinion that is going to change things.

The only thing that could make a difference is to take the people who are currently in congress, throw them out, and put a whole new group of people in that are willing to at least have a reasonable conversation and come up with a solution. That is the only thing that's going to make a difference. BLACKWELL: Yeah, there is the old saying that people don't like

Congress generally but they like their congressmen. So often send back the same people. Why we see people there for decades.

Chief, let me ask you about the investigation. Of course the effort now is behind getting an answer to why. Why did this shooter go there and commit this attack?

Obviously, the people of Allen, Texas, deserve to know. The people who were there deserve to know. The survivors of those who did not, the relatives of those who did not survive deserve to know. From a law enforcement perspective, there will be no charges. There will be no trial.

How is this applicable? What's the benefit? What's the application for law enforcement once you get an answer to why after these shootings?

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, sometimes you never find out the real why. An individual equipped like this, though, may have left behind some information as to why they did it. And I'm sure right now they are probably interviewing family, friends, and others to try to get a handle on that.

But you learn from each of these situations. You can develop a profile on individuals that are likely to commit these kinds of crimes. This happened in an outlet mall, a huge complex, a lot of entrances, a lot of exits.

From a law enforcement perspective how they handled that, if something happened in your jurisdiction, with a facility similar to that, what are some of the steps that you took that worked well? What are some of the things you could have done a little bit better? So, you learn from each one.

He was heavily armed. It looks like perhaps he had body armor. Years ago, the tactical training police officers have gone through has changed a bit.

It used to be that you shoot only for center mass. If the person is wearing a bullet proof vest, of course, that doesn't work. So some training changed where you actually do try to take head shots.

I'm sorry to be so graphic but the reality is you have to stop the threat as quickly as possible in order to save lives. So these kinds of things do have an impact on training, on our knowledge, on profiling, the kinds of individuals who are likely to engage in this kind of conduct.

WALKER: All right. Charles Ramsey, appreciate the conversation once again. Thank you.

And still to come, a wave of wildfires in Canada. Over 100 fires, tens of thousands forced to evacuate. We're going to update you on the situation in Alberta, next.

Plus, border towns bracing for chaos as they prepare for the end of a Trump era policy allowing authorities to turn back migrants seeking asylum. But shelters and charities are already reaching breaking points.



WALKER: Above average heat, bone dry conditions, and high winds creating a dangerous situation right now in western Canada. Over 100 active fires are burning across Alberta right now. Thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes. Fire officials are calling it an unprecedented crisis.

Christie Tucker is the information unit manager for Alberta Wildfire and she is joining us now.

Christie, thank you so much for your time.

Can you tell us the situation this morning and how many fires are burning currently?

CHRISTIE TUCKER, INFORMATION UNIT MANAGER, ALBERTA WILDFIRE: We've currently got 102 wildfires on the landscape in Alberta right now and they have burned a huge amount of ground over the last couple days. As you said, we've got bone dry conditions and in the last few days had really strong winds. We've been looking at temperatures well above average for the last week and that combination of things has led to some really extreme wildfire activity.

So firefighters have been working hard on that for the last couple days trying to get as much of a foothold on some of the fires as they can. The problem is they're spread out to a large distance around the province. Alberta is a huge land mass. We're about one and a half size California, so we are so we are a large province and spread out with those fires almost all the way up and down.

WALKER: Yeah. As you're seeing with these kinds of wildfires, I mean, you are just at the mercy of Mother Nature right in terms of the weather and heat and whether there will be rain in the forecast. We know that over 24,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes earlier this weekend.

Do you know if everyone made it out? Is it required? Are you going door to door to make sure that people are leaving?

TUCKER: We are working really closely with the towns and communities affected. They are the ones who need to make the call about their people. We certainly advise them on what the wildfire is doing and support them in every way we can on getting the word out.

It is not something any firefighter wants to see. Our number one community is keeping communities and people safe. And so, when you see the fire getting close and into a community of any kind, a single home loss is not what you want to see but our firefighters are just working hard to keep it from happening anymore. Certainly it is devastating for the communities and we do everything we can to help support the municipalities when they are trying to get people out.

Our helicopters helped evacuate 115 people from a remote place that was only accessible by barge. They were having trouble getting out. So, we lend a hand. We are sort of all in this together here in the province.

WALKER: And what's unique about these wildfires is that this is happening quite early in the season, is that correct?

TUCKER: Yeah, this is really early for us. Here in Alberta, it gets really cold. We have snow all winter and when that snow melts, you got dead, dry grass, dry trees. There is a period here that's high danger traditionally but we don't usually see activity like this. This is -- this is really unusual, this amount of area burn at this time of year.

WALKER: Does this make you worry for the rest of the season?

TUCKER: We don't know what's coming ahead. We are about to get a little cool weather in which is going to give firefighters hopefully a little chance to get ahead. We've got new resources coming in. We have firefighters joining us from across the country and we're putting in a request in the states through the Northwest compact to bring more firefighters from over there as soon as we can.

So, we're getting prepared. We're trying to take advantage of a bit of a break in the hot weather over the next couple days to get some hard work done on these fires. But we'll see what happens in the long term. We could be sort of settling in for a long fight here.

WALKER: Hopefully not. But, Christie Tucker, we wish you all the best. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, Title 42 allowed authorities to turn back migrants seeking asylum and with the policy set to expire Thursday, there are going to be more complications for border cities like El Paso. How local officials are preparing for the expected chaos. That's next.


WALKER: We continue to follow the developments out of Allen, Texas, this morning. Eight people are dead. At least six injured in a shooting at an outlet mall. One of the latest mass shootings here in the U.S.

Witnesses say, for at least two hours, they hid in stores and storage areas. This is in the Dallas area complex as officers responded and secured the scene. Then large crowds of shoppers were escorted through the parking lot, many with arms up, and off the property.

An officer responding to an unrelated call at the mall heard the gunshots and he was able to take out the shooter. CNN has obtained an image of what is believed to be the gunman, armed head to toe in tactical gear. We've obviously or, you know, cropped the photo so you only see what looks like to be an assault style rifle next to him on the ground. There is no word on the identity of the shooter or any more information on the investigation, including the motive.

BLACKWELL: This week, the Biden administration is preparing for an influx of migrants at the southern border, preparing to end a pandemic era policy known as Title 42. The policy has allowed authorities to turn back migrants seeking asylum.

But shelters and charities are being stretched to the limit already in so many border communities. Thousands are taking refuge on sidewalks and alleyways. Officials in El Paso estimate as many as 2,300 migrants are homeless in their city.

Joining us now to discuss is John Martin. He's a deputy director for El Paso's Opportunity Center for the Homeless.

John, good to have you. I want to start with just some stark numbers. Ten days ago, you told one of our producers, there are about 70 migrants camped outside in the center's alley. Now that is about 750, ten days, tenfold. That doesn't even sound manageable. Is it?

JOHN MARTIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR EL PASO'S OPPORTUNITY CENTER FOR THE HOMELESS: Actually, it's not. That is the reason that they're in the alley. And that does not include the numbers that we already have in house, which is an additional 200. We simply don't have the physical space to be able to bring them in. Yes, the number continues to rise incrementally.

BLACKWELL: So how are you prioritizing of the now 950 close to a thousand people in and around your facility that you are able to help?

MARTIN: Well, you have to recognize the Opportunity Center for the Homeless is comprised of ten facilities three of which are emergency shelters with an open door policy. So, all three of those facilities have been impacted. One for single adult women, one for men, then the third one for families.

So, our first priority is to bring the families with children in, regardless of documentation status. We simply don't want to see a child on the streets. Then we take a look at their individual needs. And the needs will vary depending upon their documentation status and the availability of financial resources for them to have travel throughout the continental United States. It has been very difficult, to answer your question directly.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, what are you able to offer?

MARTIN: Currently, we are able to offer services but albeit the services are limited due to the sheer number of people involved. We are still able to feed them but it is not a sustainable operation at this point. We've already gone from three meals down to two. We were able to do so thankfully through the local food bank El Pasoans Fighting Hunger as well as the American Red Cross who has been on the ground for approximately one week and been able to supplement those food packages.

We brought in facilities, as far port-a-potties, hand wash stations, charging stations for cell phones. We are doing the best we can, but as typical with any NGO, we are hustling to be able to provide the resources that they need.

BLACKWELL: So, Title 42 expires in just a few days. Are you expecting an even greater flood on the other side of this week, or are you seeing that you believe now?

MARTIN: We expect the worst case. When I refer to the worst case, I am referring to the number of people involved. The city and county of El Paso have been working very closely together with the NGOs to prepare for this influx.

But in all honesty I don't believe that no matter how much we are prepared I don't think we're going to be prepared enough.

My biggest concern right now is shelter capacity. We just need to have significant bed space probably between 1,500 and 2,000 and currently we're working with about 500 just to put that into perspective.

BLACKWELL,: Is there any promise, any suggestion that you're going to the community, I'm saying, going to get that influx of support so you'll have the beds available?

MARTIN: Well, like I mentioned, we are partnering with both the city and the county. The city of El Paso will stand up two, possibly three, additional shelters. These will be city run facilities through the city of El Paso Office of Emergency Management. That will help significantly.

However, for those that are unprocessed they cannot access those shelters. So we still have a need for space for those that have crossed in other means rather than presenting themselves to the border patrol.

We are a border community and this has always the case. However, we just haven't simply seen this sheer number.

And the one issue that I wanted to emphasize more so than anything else at this point, this is a national issue. We in El Paso along with many other communities along the southern border just happen to be at the front door step.

And so we are looking at a significant number of people that require shelter as well as services whether you're talking processed or unprocessed at this point.

BLACKWELL: A national problem that needs a national response and solution. John Martin there. John, thank you for the work you're doing and thank you for your time this morning.

WALKER: Coming up, late night TV on hold. Some of your favorite shows forced to turn to re-runs as writers go on strike. The vice president of the union representing those writers joining us next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: Seven race horses were euthanized at Churchill Downs this week. Two had to be put down yesterday within hours of the Kentucky Derby because of injuries that happened on the track. And five others were euthanized during the week-long lead up to the race.

One horse trainer was suspended indefinitely after the highly unusual deaths of two of his horses.

WALKER: Tiger Woods is being accused of sexual harassment by former long time girlfriend Erica Herman. Herman alleges in court documents that Woods pursued a sexual relationship with her and then forced her to sign a nondisclosure agreement while she was an employee at his Jupiter, Florida restaurant.

The documents also allege that Woods ended the relationship by locking Herman out of his house and requesting that she sign an additional NDA which she says she refused to do. Woods has not responded to CNN's request for comment.

BLACKWELL: A tornado hit Grundy County, Missouri last night. That's according to the National Weather Service. Pictures posted on the county's emergency management Facebook page show the damage to buildings and hail nearly the size of baseballs.


BLACKWELL: Power outages have been reported across the area but they don't appear to be widespread.

WALKER: Several people were arrested in New York City last night after people protesting the death of Jordan Neely got down on to the subway tracks inside Grand Central Terminal and delayed trains.

There have been several demonstrations over Neely's death calling for charges against the man who put him in a deadly chokehold. That man's family says Neely suffered from mental health issues.

Well, for the first time in 16 years the Writers Guild of America is on strike.

11,000 union members are demanding better compensation especially for work on streaming services.

The strike is bringing production on many TV shows to a halt. The film and TV writers are going up against some of the biggest names in the business, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount, Universal, and Warner Brothers Discovery which is CNN's parent company.

Joining me now to discuss is Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. She's the vice president of the Writers Guild of America East and a former writer on "Law & Order SVU". Good to be with you.

So the last strike in 2007 lasted 100 days. I know it cost about $2.1 billion to the California economy. At that time streaming was a new technology. And now it is quite a big part of the negotiations. Tell me why. LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN, VICE PRESIDENT, WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA EAST:

Streaming has changed everything in our industry. It used to be that television and screen writers wrote for broadcast networks and for movies that you see in theaters.

And today many of our writers are working for streaming shows that unlike broadcast network shows might air ten, maybe eight, maybe six episodes per season. And that greatly affects our compensation because when you are working for say a "Law & Order" that has 22 to 24 episodes per season you are working for 40 weeks out of the year or more on that show.

Whereas the streaming era has introduced something called mini rooms which is a studio concept that allows workers to be hired, writers to be hired for maybe 20 weeks if you're lucky, sometimes ten.


CULLEN: I used to work -- I once worked in a three-week mini room. So with that mini room comes mini compensation. And that is a great issue.

WALKER: Well, you clearly are not going to be able to get rid of these so-called mini rooms. So what is it that the Writers Guild wants then when it comes to these high intensity writers?

CULLEN: So what we want is to have some assurance of a middle class lifestyle for our writers. For the past 50 years television has worked with a (INAUDIBLE) of a writer's run meaning that a collection of talented and experienced writers gather together in a room and dream up the television shows that you love.

And the same thing is happening for this streaming shows that you love except compressed into short amounts of time and with smaller amounts of pay.

And all we are asking is for fair compensation for creating the product that these studios have made billions in revenues and profits off of.

WALKER: So where do things stand right now? Are talks ongoing?

CULLEN: Our negotiation period has ended with the AMPTP, that's the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. We were in talks with them intensely. I was there in the room. And we gave them our proposals back and forth. And we simply did not get to a place that was anywhere near ensuring a livelihood for television and screen writers going forward.

So now the studio employers are going into negotiations with the Directors Guild and then after that they will go into negotiations with the Actors Guild. Our door is open but the ball is in their court.

WALKER: So it sounds like both sides are digging in, which sounds like this strike could last quite a while. CULLEN: We hope that is not the case. We feel that our demands are

extremely reasonable and we know that the studios understand where we stand. And so we dearly hope that they will come back.

Some, you know, executives have expressed that a love of working will bring us back to work and that is the CEO of (INAUDIBLE) CEO, David Boswell. And we think that that is a miscalculation on the executives' part.

They know that we love what we do. They know that we are proud of what we create. And they are counting on that pride for us to accept poor pay, poor working terms, and the end of term employment and that simply will not be the case.

WALKER: All right. Well, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, for the sake of everyone, all the fans of TV and streaming, we hope you all work something out. Thank you so much.

So Oprah Winfrey returned to her alma mater this weekend, delivering the commencement address at Tennessee State University.

BLACKWELL: Yes. She told the crowd that she actually didn't graduate with her class at first. She was one credit short of her degree when she left to start her career in TV. Oprah says she later got that credit and her degree by writing a paper right around the time she had won her third Emmy.

In her speech, Oprah shared a bit about her hope for the future of our country.


OPRAH WINFREY, TV SHOW HOST: The United States of America may not be united, but we are not a finished product. And as Nelson Mandela so brilliantly demonstrated it's better to be hopeful than fearful if for no other reason than the fact that hope brings us one step closer to joy.


WALKER:L You know, good for her for actually writing a paper. I would have been like listen, my third Emmy speaks for it. Give me that one credit.

BLACKWELL: No, I'm glad she did it. She has the degree now. She was well on her way by that time.

WALKER: She worked for it. Yes, yes.


WALKER: Yes. Yes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up, under staffed and under scrutiny. Air traffic control towers face a major shortage in workers ahead of the summer travel season, but filling those spots is not a quick fix. [08:44:03]


WALKER: Your summer travel plans could be interrupted as airports across the country are facing severe under staffing. And right now about one in five air traffic controller positions are open. That comes out to about 3,000 jobs.

BLACKWELL: It seems like an easy fix that you just hire some air traffic controllers. Not true. There is an intense training program that can take several years to complete.

CNN's Pete Muntean shows us what it takes to become an air traffic controller.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Warnings of not enough workers for your next trip stretch from cockpits to control towers with the FAA's own air traffic controllers now in short supply.

The agency says nationwide two in every ten controller jobs are empty. The problem is so severe at a key facility in New York that the FAA is warning summer delays at the area's three main airports could rise by 45 percent.

PAUL RINALDI, FORMER PRESIDENT, THAT NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: It's a chilling message that we're not able to fly, you know, the routes at that level because we don't have enough air traffic controllers.

MUNTEAN: Now the federal government is scrambling to play catch up opening a rare hiring window Friday. Last year it was flooded with 58,000 applications. That's 38 candidates for every one opening.

CAMREN SMITH, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STUDENT: It the back bone for aviation.

MUNTEAN: Camren Smith is one of the air traffic control students here at Embry-Ruddle Aeronautical University in Florida, hitting submit on his application. FAA hiring slowed down during the pandemic.

Professor and former FAA official Michael McCormick says compounding the problem, the agency shuttered its training academy.


MICHAEL MCCORMICK, FORMER FAA OFFICIAL: Over time this builds. And that is why we have such a gap now in the training of controllers and they need to hire so many more.

MUNTEAN: To see if I have what it takes I stepped into this control tower simulator to give it a try.

Three, four, five, five, Yankee, clear for departure one six. Students practice lining up flights for take-off and landing issuing

fast, specific instructions with no margin for error.

It is so much to keep track of. This is a tough gig.

SMITH: It's probably every single time I ever hear someone say that it's such a stressful job and I'm sitting here and I'm like I can do it.

MUNTEAN: Clearly, the students here are more accustomed to the intensity of the job than I am. It can take three years for the FAA to fully train recruits. Acting administrator Billy Nolan insists hiring is on schedule but it might not be fast enough to keep flights on schedule this summer.

BILLY NOLAN, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, FAA: We are hiring over the next two years 3,300 additional controllers. That will give us a net plus of about 500 accounting for retirements and attrition.


MUNTEAN: Becoming an air traffic controller is ultra competitive. Those who are selected by the FAA have to pass not only an aptitude test but also medical and psychological exams. Those who miss their shot this year have an even better shot next year when the FAA plans to hire 1,800 new controllers -- Victor, Amara .

BLACKWELL: Pete, thank you very much. Listen, we all love a good nap. I'm going to have a good one after this show.

But sometimes it is not that easy to fall asleep. In today's "Staying Well" a sleep medicine doctor, today (INAUDIBLE) when I realized that's a job, talks about the benefits of napping and how to make it easier to fall asleep.


DR. NEOMI A. SHAH, MOUNT SINAI HEALTH SYSTEM: A nap is essentially a sleep segment that occurs outside of your habitual sleep hours.

The benefits of napping primarily are in the short, acute settings. If you're awake and you're sleepy it is going to help you reduce that sleepiness.

The other benefit is it just may make you more alert and allow you to function for the rest of the day. Best practice is to keep that to less than 30 minutes. You want a cool, quiet, dark place to try to take a nap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been coming to (INAUDIBLE) I would say around 11 months ago. When I want to take a nap, I come here.

I'm from Sicily in Italy and napping there is considered a national treasure. After lunch everyone takes a nap and just have a break and after my nap I feel like I'm more ready to work and I have more energy. DR. SHAH: : Concerns around napping should really occur when you have

a need for a daily, long nap. It could be that you're not sleeping enough at night. There are conditions like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, conditions like idiopathic hypersomnia.

The other big one that I think our country faces is just insufficient sleep. Before you change your routine and your sleep habits, reach out to your health professional to either (ph) sleep or your primary care physician.




BLACKWELL: Parts of the Midwest and Texas could see severe storms today.

WALKER: Yes. Some areas could even see tornadoes and very large hail.

CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz has more, Britley.

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey Amara. Yes, we are watching round one move through the Ohio Valley at the moment. Thankfully, no severe weather at the moment but we can't rule out a few warnings as the system really starts to get going once again with the sunlight.

And of course, we're watching round two fire up back in parts of Iowa. That is going to take the same track right on down into the Ohio Valley.

So we'll see these areas highlighted in orange and yellow, that's where we are most vulnerable for the severe weather threat. All hazards in play. More of a wind threat with the systems that track across the Midwest and back into the Ohio Valley. We're talking hurricane force wind gusts, 74 plus miles per hour. Isolated tornadoes and large hail cannot be ruled out.

There is that wind threat. Areas hashed (ph) in orange, we have that greatest risk for hurricane force winds, again 74 plus miles per hour. And then large hail, 2 inches in diameter. That is just about golf ball sized if not a little bit larger.

Again, in that hashed orange area where we have the greatest risk stretching from Des Moines back on over into parts of Nebraska and into Illinois.

Areas in red we'll see round one pushing down through the Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and into the Carolinas later this evening. And then of course, round 2 starts to fire up and then again pushing right on down the same areas, the Ohio Valley and right down into the Tennessee Valley.

That is where we'll have the greatest threat through the overnight Sunday and into Monday morning watching that closely. Texas, this is more of a dry line event. We'll see the storms fire up

where the moisture really gets going throughout the evening where we'll have that risk for an isolated tornado but hail one of the bigger threats here as well as wind. And that continues on through the morning that's pushing into parts of the south and east.

Rain, quite a bit of it. We could pick up roughly about 2 to 4 inches of rain in some of these areas across the southern Ohio Valley. And these are areas where we focus in on more of a flood threat. So you'll see areas highlighted in yellow today just off to the east of Des Moines stretching off to the south and west of Chicago where we'll pick up some heavy rain, 1 to 2 inches in one sitting.

Then that threat stretches through the Ohio Valley again where we'll pick up another 2 to 4 inches of rainfall here in the upcoming day.

So we'll watch that closely here in the next 24 hours -- Amara, Victor?

BLACKWELL: A lot to watch. Britley Ritz on it for us. Thanks so much.


WALKER: Thanks, Britley.

You're late. You're late -- for your nap.

BLACKWELL: Somnologist -- that is the professional who specializes in disorders of sleep.

WALKER: Yes. We didn't even know. We didn't know that that even existed.

BLACKWELL: The things you learn on this show.

WALKER: I don't need a somnologist.

BLACKWELL: Somnologist.

WALKER: Yes. I'm really good at sleeping and napping.

BLACKWELL: Six minutes I'm out. All right. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

WALKER: Six minutes is a long time.


WALKER: I'm out within a minute. 60 seconds.

"STATE OF THE UNION" is up next. Have a great day.