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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

6 Killed, Dozens Injured as Gunman Attacks Illinois July 4 Parade; Mayor Declares State of Emergency, Curfew to "Preserve Peace"; U.S.: Israeli Military "Likely Responsible" for Journalist's Death; Brittney Griner Makes Direct Plea to Biden for Freedom. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2022 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, July 5th. I'm Christine Romans.

We begin in Chicago suburbs where a morning that started with patriotic celebration was shattered by terrifying gunfire.


ROMANS: Parade goers running for their lives when they realize what had they thought were fireworks were really gunshots. Six people now dead, dozens more injured including children.

A suspect now under arrest after leading officers on a brief chase. Authorities say he fired on the crowd from a rooftop where they recovered a high powered rifle.

Witnesses describe chaos, some hid behind and inside dumpsters, under cars, gas stations. The parade left with abandoned strollers, camping chairs, bikes littered the ground and there one lone shoe lost in the panic.


ZOE PAWELCZEK, SHOOTING WITNESS: I saw people shot and killed around me, and a lot of people hiding. And they let us go back to get our car keys and everything. And right where we were, there was a girl dead. Another man shot in the ear.

ANGELA SENDIK, SHOOTING WITNESS: I saw someone like on the ground with his leg in the air and the girl crying next to him. And to my left, my mom and I saw at least three more people on the ground like bloody.


ROMANS: All right. "NEW DAY" anchor John Berman is there. He's live on the scene for us in Highland Park.

John, churches, schools, grocery stores, Fourth of July parade. What are we learning this morning about the shooting?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Fourth of July parade, Christine. And you can see right here, this was a parade that people have come to for decades. They've come from all the towns surrounding here to be here for this moment.

At this point, we do know that six people have been killed. Dozens more injured. The shooter, apprehended about eight hours after this took place. Not five miles from here. There was a brief car chase, ultimately number of police officers able to get him from the car, subdue him and take him into custody.

As you said, they did recover a high powered rifle here at the sea. And I can give you a sense of what it was like here. You can push in behind. You can see, this street is still littered with these beach chairs. I see towels, icy water bottles, you can see one beach ball here for two blocks behind, the chair, after chair, after chair.

And about two blocks behind me is the crime itself, where the shooting took place, about 10:15 local time.

The victims in terms of those wounded, the ages range from five years old to 85. And CNN was just able to confirm the identity of one of the deceased. And we read you this, Jacki Sundheim. He was identified by her synagogue. He was an events coordinator at a preschool and that congregation of Glencoe.

They put out a statement saying that there are no words to express the depth of our grief for Jacki's death and sympathy for families and loved ones. We know that you join us in the deepest prayer that Jacki's soul will be bound up in the shelter of god's wings and her family will somehow find comfort and consolation amid this grief. Again, the peace and calm of the celebration here, shattered by the shooting along with questions left remaining where did the shooter get this high profile rifle. What exactly is the profile of this rifle?

And then there are questions about the shooter's past as well -- 22 years old, apparently involved in rap and music. He had made several music videos, posts over the last several years, including some with some violent themes. In one, he posted a stick figure of himself looking like he was apparently involved in shooting. And then in another one, you see the stick here on the ground in a pool of blood, surrounded by police officers.

So, violent imagery in some of his posts from before, that's just part of the investigative threats that people here will be looking at, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. John Berman, thank you. Keep us up to speed. I mean, something like this, a celebration of what brings us all together, right, on one of the most important days of patriotism. Just a tragedy there. Thanks, John.

Let's bring in CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's the former assistant secretary at DHS and Harvard professor.

Juliette, I wish that we weren't having this conversation again today and I wish we didn't have to have this conversation so often with you. But let's move forward here, on the alleged shooter, in custody. What comes next in this investigation?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, it is going to be an investigation to build the criminal case, that is going to be the primary goal. That will include the evidentiary collection scene at the parade, that is why all of the things where John was describing the, the video footage, iPhone footage, videos from the buildings, and then, of course, the weapon are.

So, it's going to be -- what was the weaponry? How is it purchased? Was a purchase lawfully? And to just tie him obviously to the crime. So, they are going to be focused on that.

And the second piece is of course going to be that motivation, what drew him to this particular moment. We'll kind of hints where there, kind of incitement or radicalization may have occurred online if there is anything about that.

Or was this just not, want to be careful here, was this a man, not a bow, a man who became more and more delusional, about his role in society, so to speak and decided to become in their minds some sort of greater person than they really are, those are as the sort of things they are going to be looking at. So two different pieces, the evidentiary physical side, and, of course, the motivation side.

ROMANS: We've seen so many times before the broken boy, the man searching for some meaning and grandiosity, by taking other lives, which is just awful.

So he shot from the rooftop, we know. Does that show in your view premeditation? It is just so chilling to think of all the people below this parade. He is literally above them.

KAYYEM: Right, exactly. Easy shot so to speak, obviously very quick kills. As we said, the people who were shot that the parade, five fatalities right there. One person who could not make it to the hospital. It clearly does show premeditation, you don't simply find a rooftop at the right time so to speak to hit a soft target like that.

He knew when the parade was, what time it would be, failed he had a ladder or had acquired a latter, got him to the roof. He knew where it was going to be looking over. This is a person who knew what he wanted to target.

I have to, say they were, where's relationship was to the community, he is part of it, he is taking the path of lace there is assistance as we said. It was his community, he knew what was going on, so, he may not be a mastermind in the sense of he is planning something big, another city. But, he is someone who planned this and why he chose that community.

And so that is all going to be part of it. And I do want to say, about this, the roof top. We talk about fortifying soft targets. We certainly know that we cannot fortify a soft target in this country. There was security there. There was a police presence.

And that is something that we have to remember. You can have as much police presence, someone is going to try to find the weaker spot and when you have weaponry like this, that can kill so quickly, it is almost impossible to protect yourself.

ROMANS: Right. And you say that the police response was professional? Unlike Uvalde, where we didn't have details. It was a professional? And the police presence was already there. Can't simply compete with how fast these guns kill.

KAYYEM: Exactly, exactly. Look, all guns out the capacity to kill. Some guns have the capacity to kill faster, with more targets. That is all we are basically saying about the differences between weaponry on the street now.

So if you want to think about your capacity to make yourself safer, this is the world we are in. We don't talk about safe, what you want to do is create conditions that would allow for police to be able to respond efficiently.

And exactly what you said about Uvalde, I sat here, I don't want to compare mass shootings, because that's a horrible thing to do, but the press conferences, constant communication, they were talking to the community, not just the media, they weren't trying to grandstand about what was happening, but what they knew was happening about, with a needed from the community, at a shelter in place, help us find the sky, we are going to be, they would say at the end of the four that happened, we are going to back in an hour.


And I want to say, that is what, when people get upset about Uvalde or others, people like me, it is because these are tried and true mechanisms to try to protect communities to take the trauma out of the tragedy. And so, they were very effective and, that caught the perpetrator before it was dark. That was their goal.

ROMANS: Yeah. The uncle the alleged shooter spoke at length the FBI saying that he saw no warning signs from his nephew, what do you make of that? I mean --

KAYYEM: I think that family members do not want to see warning signs, we have to be careful, because I want to make sure that Twitter is not verify, but at least we are seeing on social media and what some people are reporting. This is a person who was leaving public trails about his condition and desires. Family members, this is the -- family members do not want to see and they have to see it, because in every case, there might have been intervention that could have stopped this, or could have delayed. A delayed mass shooting is a success in some ways.

We also do not know about the parents. They were obviously much closer to him. How much were they involved with this? How much they know? Radicalization like this is -- social media presents like this, it is

very performative at least from what I've seen, saying that he wanted people to know. That is something that would be hard for a family member not to recognize.

ROMANS: And, Julia, I just want to button with this about Chicago. As of Monday morning, according to the New York Times, there were 57 shootings over the holiday weekend in Chicago. So, this gets a lot of attention. It's the north shore, at the biggest parade on this national holiday.

But gun violence in Chicago is a --

KAYYEM: Absolutely.

ROMANS: -- repeat story every weekend, every week, day, and day out. So, something to remember.

KAYYEM: I'm glad you said that. That's exactly right.

ROMANS: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much this morning.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

ROMANS: In Philadelphia, two police officers were shot just before the July 4th fireworks began last night. Video captured the moment this panicked crowds scattered. Veteran officers both suffered graves wounds while working security detail. A Philly highway patrol officer was grazed across the forehead and in Montgomery county sheriff's deputies suffered an injury to his shoulder, both are in stable condition.

Police say it is unclear whether the shots were ricocheted or intentional. No arrests have been made.

All right. The state of emergency in Akron, Ohio, after release a body cam video a police fatally shooting Jayland Walker.

Plus, the U.S. including the Israeli military was likely responsible for the shooting death of an Al Jazeera correspondent.

And a letter to President Biden from Brittney Griner. Why she is terrified that she will be in a Russian prison forever.



ROMANS: All right. The mayor of Akron, Ohio, declaring a state emergency and issuing an overnight curfew following the shooting of Jayland Walker. Body camera footage released by the city shows eight officers firing a barrage of bullets at Walker who was unarmed as he fled.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest for us from Akron.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities in the city of Akron released about 18 minutes of body camera videos. Each minute offering a different perspective showing eight responding officers before they opened fire shooting and killing Jayland Walker.

After the release of the footage, Akron's police chief said that those officers will have to be accountable for each one of the shots they fired.

CHIEF STEPHEN MYLETT, AKRON POLICE DEPARTMENT: They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun. And they need to be held to account.

SANDOVAL: Investigators over the weekend shared more about the possible perceived threat the officers faced during the pursuit including a single gunshot that allegedly came from inside Walker's car while police were chasing his vehicle. They say this muzzle flash image captured by state traffic cameras is evidence and investigators later recovered a shell casing at that scene.

It was shortly after the car chase turned foot chase that you can see in this video those eight officers opened fire with a barrage of bullets. Officers described walker reaching for his waistband right before they shot him, according to the police chief. Walker was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

The Akron Police Union released a statement saying: The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired is consistent with use of force protocols and officers' training.

The medical examiner's report showed walker's body had at least 60 wounds as a result of gunfire. Walker's family attorney --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have a gun on you and you drop your weapon and leave and you see him running across the parking lot, you can't drop him and seize his body with bullets.

SANDOVAL: After the release of body cam footage nearly a week after the shooting, tensions flared sparking a fourth day of protests this Akron.

ROBERT DEJOURNETT, JAYLAND WAS HIS COUSIN'S SON: What I did see is him get out of the car and start running and people firing on him. And does it take that much.

SANDOVAL: Walker's family says they want to get justice for Jayland in a peaceful and dignified way.

DEJOURNETT: We don't want any rioting or anything like that. We want answers. We feel the pain and, you know, personally, I want to scream out and be mad, but what is that going to do. We want to take that anger. We want to use it for the benefit of systemic change.

SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, Akron, Ohio. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Polo, thank you for that report.

The Israeli military was likely responsible for the shooting death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. That is according to an investigation by the U.S. government. Akleh was killed while covering the military raid in may during an Israeli military operation against factions of the Palestinian Islamic jihad. An examination of the bullet could not reach a definitive conclusion because the bullet was badly damaged.


Hadas Gold is joining us live from Jerusalem.

Hadas, does the investigation conclude anything about intent?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, first of all, it is important to state that this investigation, the statement from the State Department, is so important because it is the first time that the Americans are taking any sort of position on what they think happened on the day that Shireen Abu Akleh was killed.

But they are going right up to the line of saying they know for sure it was the Israelis but that the bullet was too badly damaged to do a perfect match. Based on both the Israeli and Palestinian investigations, that it was likely Israeli gunfire. In terms of intentionality, they say that they have no reason to believe that it was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.

We should note this conclusion is the same as multiple investigations including CNN's likely Israeli gunfire that killed her, and not errant Palestinian militant gunfire. The Palestinian Authority and her family have had a rather angry response to this result. The Palestinian Authority says they believe the bullet was not too badly damaged and they think there could still be a match.

Palestinian Authority president spokesperson also said that they want the U.S. to hold Israel accountable.

And Shireen Abu Akleh's family says that they are incredulous. Take a listen to what her niece had to say.


LINA ABU AKLEH, NIECE OF SHIREEN ABU AKLEH: We continue to call on the U.N. and the ICC to carry out an investigation and hold Israel accountable and put an end to this impunity that Israel continues to endure. We call for justice for Shireen.


GOLD: Now, Israelis say it is still -- this investigation shows it is still impossible to conclude who actually killed her. And the Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressing sorrow but saying that the IDF determined that there was no intention to harm her. Israeli military says that they will continue their investigation and any decision to open a criminal investigation will be made only after they finish their operational examination without letting us know when they think that that will be wrapped up -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Hadas Gold for us this morning in Jerusalem, thank you so much.

Ahead on EARLY START, after losing Luhansk, Ukrainian forces regroup to defend the neighboring Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. We're live on the ground there.

Plus, WNBA star Brittney Griner pleading for help in a letter, a letter directly to President Biden in a letter. What she's saying.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

At least three people are dead, 27 wounded after a Ukrainian artillery strike against Russian-backed separatist in the Donetsk region. Several videos posted on social media appear to show dozens of buildings were shelled and fires burning in and around the wreckage of a deserted market near train station. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of this video.

CNN's Phil Black live in Ukraine with the latest.

We understand, Phil, the Ukrainian forces are taking up new defensive lines in Donetsk.

What is the strategy here?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, the strategy such as this is just hold on. Hang in there. Try and slow down rushes study now seemingly inevitable advance. Because Ukraine has learned, time and again, in recent days and weeks that it cannot stand and hold the defensive lines against Russia superior artillery fire power.

Time and again, we have seen Ukraine had to pull back in order to avoid being cut off, wiped out -- just to stand the chance of fighting yet another day. It's why the fight in the east is so unequal at the moment. And, that as Russia is expected to push on and tried to finish the star of claiming the rest of the so-called Donbas region. The Donbas is made up of two official regions, Luhansk, which Russia now controls completely, and Donetsk, which is as much of, and it wants to finish the job there.

The expectation in particular is that Russia's going to start moving on the Ukrainian health city of Sloviansk, a key city in that region. Ukrainian military says that it is already seeing forces preposition there. And we have seen ourselves on the ground, some of the most intense rocket fire of the residential area that city that has experienced over the course of the war so far. So, as I, say hang in there but not without hope, because Ukraine

believes that if we can slow down Russia's advance then eventually it will start to see more heavy modern weapons supplied by Western allies, making their way to the battlefront and hopefully making the fight more equal. And, Ukraine believes, under those circumstances, it's dental much better chance of stopping Russia's advance, and indeed, taking back territory from Russia that Ukraine has lost.

But, the more ground it loses now, the harder those future efforts will be -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Phil Black for us this morning. Thank you so much for that.

All right. Brittney Griner appealing for her freedom in a handwritten letter to President Biden. The WNBA star says that she's terrified she might be jailed in Russia forever.

CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us live from our London bureau.

Clare, this was really an emotional plea for help for Brittney Griner. She writes it being totally alone, without the protection of her wife, her family, her accomplishments. Just alone! She's pleading directly to the president.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Christine, this is a very raw, a very emotional effort coming from days we saw Brittney Griner appearing in court in the first hearing of her trial in Russia for drug charges, charges that could carry a maximum 10 years.