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CNN This Morning

Police Warn Escaped Killer Now Armed as He's Spotted Once Again; Aaron Rodgers Suffers Achilles Injury in Jets Debut; Sheriff Says, New Mexico Governor's Gun Violence Order is Unconstitutional. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 07:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We'll keep a close eye on it.

CNN This Morning continues now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putin's cavalry is coming led by Kim Jong-un, meaning that Putin hopes will result in an arms deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason we're watching this so closely is how desperately each needs things from the other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very big challenge, a dire threat to the west.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Pennsylvania State Police are confirming another sighting of the escape murderer, Danelo Cavalcante.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Pennsylvania State Police issued a series of reverse 911 calls that Cavalcante possibly has a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we're going to prepare for the long game.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump is pushing to remove Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan from presiding over his election subversion case in Washington.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Trump's lawyers argue that certain comments that she made mean that she needs to step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you have neither the facts nor the law, you pound the table and yell like hell.


HARLOW: Morning everyone. It's the top of the hour. We are so glad you are with us. There's a lot to get to. It has been, what, 13 days of this manhunt?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And still not finding him, still seeing him every once in a while. And now it's gotten a lot more dangerous.

HARLOW: Because they think he's armed right now. A very dangerous situation continues to unfold in Pennsylvania. Police say this convicted murderer who escaped prison nearly two weeks ago is now armed. Danelo Cavalcante was spotted again late last night about 20 miles north of the prison.

This is video of an armored vehicle and heavily armed officers swarming the scene. He is still on the loose this morning. Residents in the area are being urged to stay inside and lock all doors and windows and vehicles.

MATTINGLY: CNN-affiliate WPVI reports that a pair of shoes believed to be Cavalcante's were found in the area. And shortly after that, police received reports of gunfire.

And this just in, O and J Robert's school district made the decision to, quote, close all schools and offices today as a result of the increased police activity in the area.

CNN Correspondent Danny Freeman has been tracking everything for every day of this. Danny, what's the latest down there?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Phil, Poppy, this was an update that so many feared for so many days. Danelo Cavalcante now armed and still on the loose.

And I got to say, this has been a very active morning along Pottstown Pike, the main search perimeter now just a few miles up the road. Police have closed off this area. But we've seen, as you said, armored cars coming into the area with law enforcement officers dressed in fatigues entering the area.

And all of this really started last night. And I just want to emphasize kind of where we started and how we got to this point and tell you what specifically we know at this time.

Yesterday, remember, Phil, Poppy, was a pretty quiet day in this search, law enforcement really focusing in this general area of East Nantmeal. It's a small community in Chester County. But, importantly, it is the community where Danelo Cavalcante ditched that stolen dairy van over the weekend.

And then last night, everything really changed. We saw a number of law enforcement officers really flying down Pottstown Pike. We saw helicopters in the air and then a few specific things happened. Chester County reported that there was a shooting in East Nantmeal at around 10:10 P.M. in the area of Coventryville Road and Ridge Road.

Then Pennsylvania State Police confirmed to CNN at around 10:24 that there was a confirmed sighting of Cavalcante. Then we learned that a 911 call went out, a reverse 911 call, I should say, went out to the South Coventry Township community. Again, that's the community just a little bit up the road from where we are right now, saying they should lock windows, lock doors because Cavalcante may be in the area. And at that time, the reporting was that he may be armed. Well, then at 1:45 this morning, Pennsylvania State Police confirming that Cavalcante is indeed armed.

So, this new perimeter, like I said, 3.5 miles up this road, we are at a staging area just south of that particular point. And I should say that this search area is just about 4.5 miles north of where Cavalcante ditched that van that I was talking about earlier over the weekend. So, he has, according to police, stayed in this general area of Chester County.

We're still working to confirm some more details about that shooting incident that took place last night. But Poppy, Phil, this really has been the nightmare scenario for this 13-day manhunt that Cavalcante could get his hands on a weapon. Police confirming he is armed at this time as the search continues.

MATTINGLY: Yes, nightmare scenario is right. Danny Freeman, keep us posted throughout the morning. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Let's talk about all of this with Philadelphia's former police chief and CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey.

Gosh, if I'm a parent waking up this morning to this news, and I find out my kid's school is closed because one of the schools around there is closed, I'm thinking, what do I do, right? The police tell me to lock the doors, lock the vehicles. I don't go to work. I mean, this is like terrorizing this community.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it is. I mean, it's something that certainly is upsetting.


But it's right now the best thing to do, keep your doors locked, keep your windows locked, keep everyone inside.

This has changed quite a bit now. He is armed. You know, I'm here in Philadelphia, so, obviously, the local news is all over this as well. And what we're hearing here anyway is that he did break into a home last night. The homeowner heard him, actually fired shots at him. Whether or not he was hit, I don't know. But he did take a rifle, a 0.22 caliber rifle, from that home.

So, he is definitely armed right now. That changes things dramatically, a dangerous individual to begin with, and now he's armed. And so what they're probably most concerned about is him trying to barricade himself inside of a residence or some other facility.

We don't know again if he's injured. Police probably know if there was blood at the scene, but all these factors now are coming together. You see SWAT teams there. They're trying to really close in on a real tight perimeter and take this guy down.

MATTINGLY: Yes. How does -- and I think you're getting it, this is some degree, but expand a little bit on what this does in terms of changing tactics from law enforcement when you know he is armed, when you know he has a weapon. RAMSEY: Well, you have to be careful whenever you're doing these kinds of searches anyway, but now you have to be very, very careful. If he's got a rifle, I mean, if he sees the officers out there during the search, he can obviously take a shot at him. So, that just heightens the awareness, heightens the danger that they're facing, but they're going to move ahead anyway. It's all you can do. They'll use dogs, they'll use drones. They'll use other ways in which to try to pinpoint his location.

But in the meantime, you still have to get in there and try to get (INAUDIBLE) to the community.

HARLOW: How do you, I mean -- so much of what you guys do is about mindset and the mindset of someone. How do you assess his mindset, you know, 13 -- 12, 13 days in and how that dictates how you approach?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, he's desperate. He has nothing to lose. He's facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. Now, he has a firearm. And so the question now is whether or not will he surrender, which is doubtful, because if he wanted to surrender, he would have done it some time ago, or does he plan to, you know, kill himself, try to kill others? We just don't know at this point in time.

We just know that he's dangerous. He's probably in a state of panic right now. He's going to be irrational. You have to be very, very careful. We thought he was dangerous before. He is very dangerous now.

MATTINGLY: All right. Charles Ramsey, thank you very much.

HARLOW: So we want to tell you about these evacuations that are underway right now after heavy rains triggered intense flash flooding. This is in North Central Massachusetts overnight. It's left drivers trapped in their vehicles and entire roads, some areas impassable. Officials there say 11 inches of rain fell in some areas along a reservoir near Leominster.

The city's mayor said a road inundated with floodwaters was essentially gone after a sinkhole formed. A number of streets will remain closed today in the region as teams work to fix that damage. And right now, officials are giving an update. Of course, we will keep you posted as well.

MATTINGLY: Well, in his debut with the New York Jets, 22 years after 9/11, Aaron Rodgers ran out of the MetLife tunnel carrying the American flag in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills.

On his first drive, Rodgers was sacked and injured. The four-time MVP hobbled up for a few moments and went back to the ground. He was helped off the field. But even without Rodgers, the Jets were able to secure a major win against a division rival in overtime.

Coy Wire joins us now. Coy, you were at last night's game. We were talking last time you were up here about kind of the goose bumps of that moment when he ran out. And then, oh, no.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the roller coaster of emotions. I mean, I hadn't seen a stadium that rocking since like Beyonce halftime show. I mean -- I'm not going to be kidding you. It was jumping, so much energy, Jets fans, a sea of number eight jerseys, Rodgers' jersey number.

The hopes were high. And then just as quickly and as big and bold as it was, it just deflated in an instant when it happened. I mean, you could hear a pin drop in that place, even Bills fans. Like I'm a former Buffalo Bills player, and even I was concerned like, no, this can't happen. This is not how the NFL script is supposed to go, right? We all wanted to see Aaron Rodgers out there, one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Four-time league MVP and this was supposed to be the moment where he comes and brings the Jets back to their glory, which happened about 55 years ago when Broadway Joe, maybe that was their only Super Bowl title.

And this is a team and a fan base who really thought, this is a strong possibility. We couldn't make out the Super Bowl.

HARLOW: Why are you speaking in the past tense, Coy Wire?

WIRE: Well, they did still beat those Buffalo Bills, but it's too soon to talk about that Poppy. It's bugging me. No, they had an incredible win, right? I mean, they found a way --


HARLOW: I mean, for Rodgers.

WIRE: Oh, for Rodgers. Okay. So, for Rodgers, the team did say that the X-rays were negative, good sign, but they're concerned about -- Coach Robert Saleh said after the game -- concerned about his Achilles. And I talked to an orthopedic surgeon after the game, and Heath said it's absolutely a ruptured Achilles.

So, we will see. MRIs will happen at some point today, and maybe sometime early afternoon we'll hear if that is indeed the case. And if that's true, then --

MATTINGLY: That's what I was going to ask. Because a former player. I mean, you're here, you've got a ruptured Achilles, what does that mean for your season?

WIRE: Listen, those, that's one of the most difficult injuries to come back from. I've had several teammates who have that. He's 39 years old, Poppy. He is the oldest active player in the NFL. He is a bit like Superman though, so you don't want to even rule that out. Kobe Bryant, as you mentioned earlier, Phil, Kevin Durant came back from ruptured Achilles. They were a bit younger than Aaron Rodgers. But we'll see what may hold for the future for Jets fans.

MATTINGLY: All right. Well, it was a very awesome night. Again, my condolences to our team and the Jets fans, Ana, Chris, Rob (ph), still with the jerseys next week. Coy Wire, we appreciate you, my friend. Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks, buddy. So, the governor of New Mexico will join us live for her first national televised interview after she has suspended the right to carry guns in public across the city of Albuquerque and the county. That's next.

MATTINGLY: And Donald Trump is asking the judge in his federal election case to recuse herself. CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig will break down the legal arguments he's making and if they hold any water.

Stay with us.




SHERIFF JOHN ALLEN, BERNALILLO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO: I'm trying to look at solutions to address the gun violence directly and not be overshadowed by a court order that is not going to be enforceable, I'm telling you that right now. It's going to waste our time. I want to make sure that we have real solutions to battle with gun violence.


HARLOW: So that was the sheriff of New Mexico's most populous county responding last night to the governor's controversial gun violence order, calling it unconstitutional.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham last week declared a public health emergency and announced a 30-day ban on carrying firearms open or concealed in public areas in Albuquerque and its county. She issued the emergency order after the shooting deaths of three children this summer that includes an 11-year-old boy shot and killed outside of a minor league baseball stadium just last week as well as mass shootings in the state.

The Democratic governor's move is facing pushback from law enforcement officials and gun rights groups. At least two organizations have filed lawsuits arguing that it violates the Second Amendment. And over the weekend, some New Mexicans openly defied this mandate during a protest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all agree that the governor has overstepped her authority and is actually in violation of the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what her thought process was that she suddenly thought she could trample the Second Amendment.


HARLOW: Joining us now for her first national televised interview since issuing this order is the governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Governor, thank you for your time this morning.

And let's get to exactly that. We just heard from the sheriff, he joins the attorney general and others who say they won't enforce it. It's unconstitutional. Why do it if it can't be enforced?

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D-NM): Well, that's their opinion. They have no bold actions. They don't have any plans for reducing gun violence. Every single aspect in terms of preventing gun violence, funds, crime labs, more than 150 million for retention bonuses and recruitment of new police officers.

I'm focused on one thing. We have the third highest gun related injuries in the country, 90 percent higher than the national average. We lost 143 children between 2017 and 2021. It is unacceptable and it calls for immediate and swift and bold action. And frankly, the evidence bears out, over and over again, fewer guns on the streets makes everyone safer. And I'm focused on everyone's constitutional rights, not just those the NRA says I should be focused on.

HARLOW: Yes. It's not just the NRA. Here's one other concern from the sheriff. Here is what he told my colleague Kaitlan Collins last night.


SHERIFF JOHN ALLEN, BERNALILLO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO: In a couple months or year down the road, we're the ones stuck in court and we're the ones getting sued over all this infringement of rights and all these other court battles when I could be focusing so much more on crime.


HARLOW: Has any law enforcement officer in Albuquerque or the county actually enforced this yet?

GRISHAM: Well, we haven't issued any civil penalties, but that doesn't mean that we're not and that we don't have the ability to do that.

HARLOW: But that's a no, right?

GRISHAM: This is the pushback I get from every single -- oh, it's a no this minute, but that doesn't mean that we aren't and it doesn't mean that we don't have additional police presence. And if not this bold action making sure that you're safe going to the grocery store, you're safe going to a baseball game, you're safe walking on a hiking trail, there are individuals, including young people, where it's illegal today to have a handgun, openly carrying handguns.

My question to law enforcement, is where are you? Where are you? And that young 11-year-old, Froylan Villegas, 17 rounds were fired into that gun. 35,000 rounds are fired at least annually in Albuquerque alone. You are not safe going to work, getting your prescription drugs, or going to a public park. And it wasn't just about a cooling off period, it's about making sure that everyone is safer while we do bolder work to get at both the drug epidemic and the gun violence epidemic.

HARLOW: Look, and --

GRISHAM: And it's not for police to tell me what's constitutional or not. They haven't supported one, not one gun violence effort in the State of New Mexico --

HARLOW: So, Governor --

GRISHAM: -- including domestic violence protections, universal background checks. And I know you want to ask me a question. So, I'll take a breath. But it's -- these are NRA talking points about their rights and not about anybody else's. And it's not a ban, it's a temporary pause so we can make this community safer.


HARLOW: I hear you. And I'm glad you mentioned Froylan Villegas name, 11 years old. Also in July, you had Amber Archuleta, 13 years old killed. You had Galilea Samaniego in August. I want to mention those names because those are kids, they're kids who shouldn't be shot.

GRISHAM: It's disgusting.

HARLOW: But we also have, Governor, the constitution of New Mexico and the constitution of the United States. And you're an attorney. Do you think you're on solid constitutional ground here?

GRISHAM: Well, we're going to see. I mean, look, I wouldn't do it if I didn't think I had the right. I have the right.

HARLOW: But where is the right? Where is the right?

GRISHAM: In the State of New Mexico, public -- it's a suspension. It's not a ban. And we'll see what all of these court actions do. And I did say publicly, Poppy --


GRISHAM: -- look, I got a Supreme Court that says my personal bodily autonomy can be restricted. And yet, NRA and other issues on the Second Amendment keeps getting broadened. So, the Bruen case in New York, right, that deals with concealed carry.

HARLOW: Right.

GRISHAM: And cases in Texas that say you can be --

HARLOW: And that's actually, Governor, what I'm talking about.

GRISHAM: -- a drug --

HARLOW: You bring up the Bruen case. The Supreme Court last year --

GRISHAM: But I don't know. This --

HARLOW: Let me just ask you this because the Supreme Court last year --

GRISHAM: Yes, sure.

HARLOW: -- totally changed what we're allowed to do, what you're allowed to do. And they say, unless you can base it in the history and tradition, you don't have grounds to do something like this. The New Mexico constitution, I looked last night, Article 2, Section 6, says this, "No law shall abridge the right of citizens to keep and bear arms for security and defense. No municipality or county shall regulate in any way any incident the right to keep and bear arms."

Are you not in violation of both the U.S. constitution and your state's constitution?

GRISHAM: I don't believe that we are. And if that narrow reading of the constitution, which has been tested in the state, we wouldn't have universal background checks, we wouldn't have a waiting period, we wouldn't have a red flag law, we wouldn't have prohibitions for straw purchases. None of those would have been deemed constitutional. And today all of them are.

HARLOW: They were before the Supreme Court ruled that.

GRISHAM: These absolute right discussions -- fair. But they haven't been tested again.


GRISHAM: And so, for law enforcement -- and I understand, there -- not really. Look, if you want the community to be safer, show me that you can do that. If you're not going to stand up for these kids and really test as hard as you can getting fewer guns and dealing with gun violence in a meaningful way, then you're basically saying that you won't be responsible to protect the citizens of the state.

HARLOW: Yes. But --

GRISHAM: Well, I will. And I will do everything in my power to turn the tide and to make sure every New Mexican, particularly children, are safe.

HARLOW: To law-abiding citizens, gun owners in your state, I think they're wondering this morning, is this more about making a statement than about enforcing this? I want to play for people an exchange you had with a journalist at your press conference last week. Here it was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really think that criminals are going to hear this message and not carry a gun in Albuquerque on the streets for 30 days?



HARLOW: You said no. Are you going to keep doing this 30 days, 30 days, take it up to the Supreme Court, or is this about a statement right now?

GRISHAM: No. Listen, I can make any number of statements and already have. In 2007, I was very clear about where I stood in my initial congressional race about gun violence. So, this is nothing new. But the rates of gun violence in my state, third worst in the nation, are absolutely unacceptable.

And while I see that it is getting more challenging to find strategic efforts to keep everyone safe, that doesn't mean I shouldn't do them. And it's not the only thing in the order, it's about public places. It's about making sure we don't have guns at schools. It's about testing for fentanyl in waste water at schools and other areas --

HARLOW: And Governor --

GRISHAM: -- when I think that we have a growing problem. Yes.

HARLOW: To be clear, in your executive order, you're right, only one --

GRISHAM: I mean, it's not just that.

HARLOW: -- part of this is being challenged by the courts.


HARLOW: You try to do a lot of other things.

GRISHAM: That's right.

HARLOW: I'm glad you mentioned that. Just let me ask you one final question about executive power, right? That's a big thing you're testing here, too. Are you overreaching? Let me give you a hypothetical, right? You're a Democratic governor who is doing this. What if a Republican governor of a state declares a health emergency and unilaterally outlaws abortion in that state, where the legislature has not done so by statute, following your logic, would that also be sound?


GRISHAM: In this situation, honestly, I don't think so. But that is what's happening in this country, is that we've got extremists on this question and on reproductive rights. And the issue about the emergency order, the difference here is, I had an 11-year-old that was shot and killed with 17 rounds in a road rage. I got a call from a surgeon whose husband was killed in the exact same way in Albuquerque.

Violence is growing. Every single investment and strategy, including a bold call to action has failed. And here, this is about protecting everyone's rights. The Republican governor is about restricting some rights. And I think we're going to see these challenges across the country.

HARLOW: Well, we will --

GRISHAM: But I'm going to stand up for the children and I'm going to stand up for public safety in Albuquerque.

HARLOW: We will watch as you do. And I was asking about the law itself and the reach that you have under the constitution of the United States and New Mexico. I'm glad you came. This is a really important discussion. Please come back any time you'd like to continue the conversation, Governor Grisham. Thank you.

GRISHAM: Thank you, Poppy.


MATTINGLY: Well, Donald Trump is now asking the judge in his federal election case to recuse herself. We're going to break down those legal arguments.

HARLOW: And look we just weighed in on the legal cases against former President Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin. What he said, that's next.