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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

5 Dead, 40 Injured In Waukesha Christmas Parade Incident; Peng Shuai Appears In Video Call, Concerns Over Safety Persist; Hostages Kidnapped By Haitian Gang Released, 15 Still Being Held. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Nice to have you here for a few days this week.

PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: I'm so excited to be here. I'm Paula Reid in for Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: It's time for our top stories to keep an eye on this Monday morning.


CHIEF DANIEL P. THOMPSON, WAUKESHA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Some of the individuals were children and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident.


ROMANS: Breaking overnight, officials in Waukesha, Wisconsin now say five people were killed and more than 40 injured when an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade Sunday. Police say a person of interest is in custody but won't say if it's the driver or if they've made any arrests.

REID: And in Brunswick, Georgia, closing arguments are set to begin this morning in the murder trial of three white men charged in the killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Now, the 12-member jury, which includes only one person of color, could begin deliberations later today.

ROMANS: Conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes resigned from Fox News over what they call irresponsible voices at the network. Both men say that Tucker Carlson's propaganda-based "Patriot Purge," which mostly backs Donald Trump's likes about the rigged election, was the last straw.

REID: And police say they have seized 250 tons of marijuana in a bust at a warehouse near Medford, Oregon now worth about half a billion dollars. This would -- now, this is in a state where they have legalized recreational cannabis back in 2015, but it is illegal to manufacture without a license.

ROMANS: A New Jersey Starbucks employee may have exposed thousands of customers to hepatitis A. The Camden County Health Department says anyone who was at the store on Blackwood Clementon Road in Gloucester on November fourth, fifth, sixth, 11th, 12th, and 13th should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

REID: And a first for Ann Arbor, Michigan and the nation. A just- passed city ordinance will require public restrooms, including those located inside businesses, to have free menstrual products on hand. The ordinance goes into effect on January first.

ROMANS: All right, to our top story this morning. Breaking overnight, the people of Waukesha, Wisconsin coping with horror and grief this morning after this vehicle sped past barricades and into a marching band at a holiday parade. Five people were killed and more than 40 injured.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we were heading back to Main Street, I saw an SUV speeding along the parade route and then all of a sudden heard a loud bang. And then I heard deafening cries -- screams from people in attendance -- people marching in the parade. Folks started running away from the scene and folks were -- left their belongings behind, holding on to their kids.

MAYOR SHAWN REILLY, WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: I walked in the parade at the beginning. I saw all the happy children sitting on the curb. I saw all the happy parents behind their children. I can still see the smiling faces.

A parade is a celebration for our community. Today, our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration. I am deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.


REID: Dozens of victims are in the hospital. Police say they have one person in custody but they are not commenting on a cause or a motive for the incident.

ROMANS: Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow, a security consultant and former Secret Service agent. Good morning.

Five people are dead, 40 injured. We're at the very beginning of the investigation. What happens from here? How do authorities begin to investigate this?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via Webex by Cisco): Well, good morning.

You know, this incident underscores the really dynamic and unpredictable nature of these tragic events. For law enforcement, in the immediate moment, their focus is always going to be on stopping the threat, providing immediate medical attention to those that need it, and seeing safety.

Once the scene is stabilized, then we start the process of -- you know, crime scene processing. How do you investigate any type of crime scene?


But more importantly, this is a parade route, so what you have to think about are the geographical locations that are -- that make up this crime scene. So, they have to identify exactly where the boundaries are for when the criminal activity had began and start processing that. And what processing that means is they need to start looking and pulling together and correlating all of the witness statements.

We've seen a tremendous among of video out there regarding this event. They need to document all that video, bring it all together, and to piece together every aspect and every moment that the criminal act was taking place.

They have to conduct multiple crime scene searches. Again, the geographical area alone is going to make that much more difficult. And again, we have fatalities that are involved in that.

The local law enforcement is most likely going to bring in mutual aid assistance -- potentially, even from the Federal Bureau of Investigations -- to help them process just the vast amount of evidence that they need to collect. And all of that evidence needs to be inventoried.

Again, this is a crime. This is going to go to trial. So, all of the evidence needs to be inventories, photo-documented. They have to establish the proper chain of custody.

Again -- so there's a lot that law enforcement has to do. And they had to pivot very quickly. Again, this incident happened less than 24 hours ago. They had to deal with the immediate aftermath and then start the methodical process of the investigation and processing the crime scene.

REID: And Jonathan, the community made the decision to close schools today even though they say the community is safe. So, why take a step like that? Is that just for recovering and mourning, or is that more of a tactical decision until they really understand what exactly happened here?

WACKROW: Well, it's two-fold.

First of all, this is a -- this is an acute shock to that community and that community needs to start healing. Oftentimes, motivation in these tragic events vary greatly but the outcomes are often the same. It's the loss of human life. And there's a physiological and psychological effect that these incidents have on a community.

So, to take pause -- to stop the kids from going to school. To have the community be able to take care of themselves.

I anticipate that what you will see is the deployment of victim advocates. These are people who are trained to support victims of a crime. And again, there are multiple victims here. They all need assistance, whether it's with the immediate medical attention. But it's the long-term assistance that this community is going to need to heal.

Again, this event was supposed to be a real happy moment for the community, bringing everybody together after a long pandemic in celebrating the season. And this tragic incident will leave a scar on this community --

ROMANS: Absolutely.

WACKROW: -- for a long time.

ROMANS: And there will be thousands of these kinds of parades in hometowns and Main Streets all across the country with your vintage fire trucks, and your Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the firefighters all marching together, and retired police officers. And, you know, it's part of Americana so one hopes that everyone will be tightening up their security in all of these in the weeks ahead.

Jonathan Wackrow, CNN legal enforcement analyst, thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.

WACKROW: Thank you. Good to see you.

ROMANS: All right.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has finally appeared in public after a flurry of proof of life videos on social media this weekend. She appeared in a video call with the International Olympic Committee where Peng said she is safe and well. But concerns for her well-being are not going away.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. We have seen her. She said she is well and safe. It does not quell the controversy and the questions about what's happening here, does it?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. And let's just glean what the IOC released.

According to the IOC, a video chat took place between Peng Shuai and the president of the IOC. It took about 30 minutes on Sunday. In it, Peng Shuai -- she says that she is safe and well. She says that she's living at home in Beijing and that she wants her privacy respected. Two other individuals were also part of this call, including a Chinese sports official.

Now, the IOC did not give a copy of the video -- of this video chat to CNN. We only have the statement and we only have this photograph in which you see Peng Shuai smiling at the camera.

But look, it was three weeks ago, November the second, when Peng Shuai made that explosive allegation accusing a former top party official of sexually assaulting her. And she made that accusation on her verified Sina Weibo social media account. Within 30 minutes, that was taken down. She has been under blanket censorship since then.

And speaking of censorship, you could see what the CNN live feed looks like in China right now. As I speak, this broadcast is not being aired in China. It's being censored, only underscoring the sensitivity about this case.

The hashtag where is Peng Shuai -- that has been going viral over the last week or so. And that also prompted Chinese state media to release over the weekend a series of proof of life videos and photographs showing Peng Shuai out and about, being active in Beijing. Showing her at a -- apparently at a youth tournament in Beijing on Sunday. Showing here at a popular Citron restaurant on Saturday.


But the Women's Tennis Association is having none of this. In fact, they say that the video that's been put forward, like the one that you're seeing on your screen right now of her purportedly at a youth tennis event on Sunday, is insufficient.

Let's bring up the statement for you because it's a strong one. The WTA says this:

"It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion. This video does not change our call or a full, fair, and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern."

So now, the question being circulated is not where is Peng Shuai but is Peng Shuai truly free?

Back to you.

ROMANS: And just quickly, Kristie, your sense of those events that this video is coming -- you know, the event with the empty stands behind her at the tennis arena, and at the restaurant. Did those look staged? Was it -- did it feel like it was scripted? What did it seem like to you?

STOUT: You know, it was really interesting because it was several individuals with links to Chinese state-run media. They sent out these proof of life videos and photographs on Twitter, which is not available --

ROMANS: Right.

STOUT: -- in China. So, this was aimed squarely at you -- at an international audience -- in order to quell the concerns. And that was not the case.

You know, in one video clip -- the one that you're looking at right now -- Peng Shuai is there on the screen. Next to her is a Chinese tennis tournament director and two other women. And in that clip, they keep emphasizing this date, November the 21st -- November the 21st as if to put a timestamp of it, which is why I'm using the language proof of life. It just has that feeling of it. It just feels very staged- managed and very manufactured.

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Thank you so much for that. We will be talking about more, I'm sure.

STOUT: Got it.

ROMANS: Thank you.

REID: No kids, no problem. A Pew Research poll finds about 44 percent of childless Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 say they're unlikely to ever have kids. That's a seven percent jump from just 2018.

Reasons range from not wanting to have children to concerns about climate change and the environment. But the declining birth rate could also mean fewer workers to support the economy and fund social programs down the road.

ROMANS: With huge implications for things like immigration and the size of the social safety net. I mean, it takes people working now, paying into Social Security, for us to get Social Security someday. So, that is a big -- that's a big difference in American -- the American outlook for the economy.

All right, we'll be right back.



REID: The city of Waukesha, Wisconsin in shock after five people were killed and more than 40 injured when an SUV barreled into a crowd of people attending a Christmas parade on Sunday. Schools and several roads have been closed, and police are saying a person of interest is in custody. City Alderman Don Paul.


DON PAUL BROWNE, WAUKESHA ALDERMAN: It was just so hard to believe that an event that was just really a great way to kick off the holiday season, like it is every year, turned into a venue for such senseless violence. It's like an alternative reality based on like what -- a parade that I walked away from and now what the whole nation is hearing on the news.


REID: "NEW DAY" will have more on this at the top of the hour. ROMANS: Some much-needed welcomed news from Haiti. Two missionary hostages are released after a Haitian gang kidnapped their group more than a month ago.

CNN's Matt Rivers brings us up to speed from Mexico City.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Christine and Paula, it had been several weeks since we had received any substantive updates on the status of those 17 missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti by a gang called 400 Mawozo, according to authorities, back on October 16th.

But it was on Sunday, later in the day, that we got an update from Christian Aid Ministries. This was the group that these missionaries were working on behalf of as a part of this missionary trip that they took to Haiti, which is when they got kidnapped.

And in a relatively short statement, the group said that two of the hostages of the 17 have been released at this time. They said, quote, "They are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for." They went on to say "We cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location. Our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held."

So, not a lot of information there. But we did manage to confirm with a source in Haiti's security forces that these two hostages have, in fact, been released.

This also brings into sharp focus the fact that there are 15 hostages that are still being held by this gang in Haiti at this point. So, while this is very good news -- two of the 17 missionaries, 16 of whom were American, one Canadian -- two of them are now safe according to this source in Haiti's security forces, as well as the -- as the group that oversees these missionaries. But 15 of them still remain in what is undoubtedly a horrific situation -- Christine, Paula.


REID: Well, a tragic story out of Philadelphia. A 7-months pregnant woman fatally shot after attending her own baby shower. Police say the 32-year-old was unloading gifts from her car when she was shot in the head and stomach Saturday night. No arrests have been made and the city is offering a $50,000 reward for any information.

ROMANS: Early holiday shopping has been marred by a series of brazen organized robberies. This one is in Oak Brook, Illinois at a Louis Vuitton store where police say a group of criminals stole about $100,000 of goods.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a pretty safe area. We come here all the time with kids. The kids play outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't expect to see that kind of thing happening outside of the city, too. Because I actually moved in from the city just recently, so I thought I escaped all of that.


ROMANS: This happened near another similar incident recently in Northbrook, Illinois where 13 thieves stole about $60,000 of merchandise.

REID: And in Walnut Creek, California, police say about 80 looters hit a Nordstrom's where two employees were assaulted; one pepper- sprayed. Now, a series of similar coordinated robberies at designer stores took place in San Francisco as well.

ROMANS: Yes, these were all really highly orchestrated.

REID: It appears that way, yes.

ROMANS: They came in in big SUVs and they have a plan.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Looking at markets around the world, Asian shares have closed narrowly mixed. Europe has opened higher. And on Wall Street, stock index futures also leaning a little bit higher here.

The big event this week will be the president deciding whether he will renominate Fed Chairman Jay Powell to that role. We're expecting that maybe to come before Thursday and the holiday. There is some speculation that Lael Brainard, who is also on the Fed, could be tapped to replace him, but we shall see.

REID: Hmm, interesting -- big story.

ROMANS: Big drama.

REID: Little drama.

Speaking of drama, LeBron James ejected after a wild scene broke out in the Lakers' win over the Pistons.

Thankfully, Carolyn Manno is here with this morning's Bleacher Report so I don't have to report on sports. What happened?


This is pretty wild. A lot of sports fans -- if you're not a sports fan, that's OK -- kind of remember malice at the palace back in 17 years ago. That was pretty infamous. It was almost to the day.

But this is a very unusual scene for LeBron James -- unusual outcome -- only been ejected twice in 19 seasons in the NBA, the first coming back in 2017 for a comment that he made to a ref.

But let me show you what happened. So, the fight came about three minutes into the third quarter after LeBron bloodied the face of Pistons' big man, Isaiah Stewart. They were jostling for rebounding position. Stewart had to be held back multiple times as he tried to confront LeBron. Both players ended up being ejected from the game. Neither spoke to the media afterwards.

Lakers star Anthony Davis coming to the defense of this teammate. Davis saying LeBron isn't a dirty player.


ANTONY DAVIS, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: It was uncalled for you, you know. You got a cut about your eye accidental-like. You know, it wasn't on purpose. And we wasn't -- we wasn't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that. Like, I don't know what he was trying to do but we wasn't going to allow that.


MANNO: Things also got a little chippy towards the end of the first half of a marquis game between Dallas and Kansas City. The Cowboys' C.J. Goodwin grabbing Rashad Fenton's facemask as they fell to the ground in front of the Cowboys' bench. Fenton had to be separated from Goodwin before he pretended to fake-fire a gun against his opponent. And he initially got called for taunting for that. But then, after further review, Goodwin was also flagged for the face mask.

A tough game all around for Dallas. Kansas City went on to win by 10.

If you did go to bed early you missed a nail-biter on "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL." The Steelers down 17 to start the fourth quarter of this game before mounting a furious comeback.

You just saw Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He missed a week of practice due to COVID-19. He pushed Pittsburgh into the lead with less than 3 1/2 remaining here. A 45-yard field goal attempt is good for Pittsburgh to get out front.

But that was more than enough time for L.A. and Justin Herbert hitting Mike Williams here. He sprints to the endzone for a 53-yard score to ice the game. Chargers avoiding disaster to win 41-37.

If you did have Jonathan Taylor in your Fantasy Football lineup, you're probably feeling pretty good this morning. The Colts' running back scored five touchdowns in an upset of the Bills. Had a career- high 32 carries for 185 yards. Indianapolis starting the year 1-4. They have won five of their last six to get back into the AFC playoff race.

And look who is back on the golf course. Tiger Woods posting this video on Sunday. He's seen hitting balls for the first time since that car crash back in February. The clip captioned "making progress." This is the first official update that the 15-time Major champion has shared since April.

In the video, you see a compression sock on his right leg. He sustained multiple injuries to that leg and foot in the crash. He hasn't competed in an official tournament since the 2020 Masters,

guys. He won that event in 2019 after coming back from this wild spinal fusion surgery. So, he is just different --

ROMANS: How does he look?

MANNO: -- than others.

ROMANS: How does he look?


ROMANS: He looks good?

MANNO: Yes, he looks pretty good. I mean, we've seen him kind of pop up here and there. He's been attending his son's golf tournament. But it's just -- it's good to see him back on the golf course overall.

ROMANS: Carolyn, nice to see you.

MANNO: You, too.

ROMANS: Carolyn Manno.

Finally, a Mississippi teenager with a rare blood disorder is an inspiration for all of us. When 13-year-old Abraham Olagbegi learned he had qualified as a Make-A-Wish recipient, he told his mom he wanted to feed the homeless.


ADEOLA ABRAHAM OLAGBEGI, MAKE-A-WISH RECIPIENT: It was always a good thing to do and that's what I grew up doing. So, I just decided to like go back to my roots and just to do what I was taught to do.


ROMANS: Abraham says before he got sick, the family would go to Poindexter Park in Jackson, Mississippi to feed the homeless. His wish specifies that homeless people in the park receive one hot meal a month for an entire year.


REID: That's really --

ROMANS: The best to him. What a great holiday spirit.

Fifty-four minutes past the hour. Tragedy in Wisconsin. Five dead, at least -- dozens hurt as a driver plows through a Christmas parade. We're going to continue to follow that story all day.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

REID: I'm Paula Reid. "NEW DAY" is next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

Breaking overnight, at least five dead in a Wisconsin Christmas parade after an SUV plows through the crowd. This morning, new information with a person of interest in custody.

Two Fox News personalities say they've had enough. The moment that drove them to quit.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And the jury in the trial of the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's death to hear closing arguments this morning. We are live in Georgia with the latest on that.

And a wild fight broke out on the basketball court between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. And the drama --