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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

New Details Emerge About Highland Park Shooter; Embattled UK PM Boris Johnson Fights to Hold Power After Two Top Ministers Quit; Russian Forces Targeting Civilian Areas Near Donetsk. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 06, 2022 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, July 6, I'm Christine Romans.

We begin this morning with new details about the suspect in the July 4th mass shooting now charged with seven counts of first degree murder. More charges coming police say.

Police say they had two calls about the gunman back in 2019. One in April was a report about him attempting suicide. That was ultimately handled by mental health professionals. And then in September, a family member called police saying he had threatened to, quote, kill everyone.

In that case officers confiscate confiscated a collection of knives and a sword. Officials say at that point, there was who probable cause to arrest him, but a short time later, he legally purchased five firearms, including a pistol and the high powered rifle he used to kill innocent people, which raises questions about the earlier police visits and whether more could have been done to prevent this tragedy.

Investigators also revealing the suspect may have been planning this attack for weeks, several weeks. And they say that afterwards he wore women's clothing as you see here to conceal his identity and facial tattoos. They say he wanted to blend in and leave with the crowd.

Last night, the community came together for a vigil to mourn those killed to support their families, to honor the injured and begin to heal. We now know the names of six of the seven people who were killed, they range in age from 35 to 88. Among them, a married couple, a couple who left behind their toddler. You will hear more about that story in a moment.

Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia police commissioner and Washington, D.C. bureau chief.

Thank you so much, sir.

Seven counts of first-degree murder. More coming. We heard yesterday that there will be more charges coming. Where does the investigation go from here? CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they still

have a lot of work to do to build the case for court. A lot of these mass shootings, the suspect winds up committing suicide or is killed by police immediately afterwards. But this is a case where an individual was taken into custody. So there definitely will be a trial.

So there is a lot of forensic evidence that they are going through. Certainly, they are going through all of the information that they can get from his social media, other evidence they may have collected during execution of search warrants and so forth.

But they still don't have a moisture as far as I'm aware and it's possible they may never really have a clear motive for the actual shootings, but they don't need that to move forward with the trial. As far as other charges, aggravated battery which is for the shootings of individuals who did not die would certainly be additional charges that the state's attorney will be placing against this individual.

ROMANS: So, we know that the suspect legally purchased the weapon he used even after police were involved when they say he threatened to harm his family back in 2019. We know there was report of a suicide attempt also in the past.

Look, Illinois' current red flag laws, if they didn't work, what will? It seems like the onus of these red flag laws is really on sort of the family or a police officer to follow through. I mean, my God, when you look at the social media profile and you look at interactions with police, and then he still could purchase these weapons.

RAMSEY: Well, I think there is two separate issues here. One is the Highland Park police and they responded to two separate calls. From everything I've heard, they handled those jobs perfectly.

The first was handled as a mental health issue which was the attempted suicide. The second as far as the knives went, they seized the knives. The family did not want to sign complaints. They had no probably cause for arrest. But they did turn the information over to the state police.

Now, what the state police did with the information is a different matter. My understanding is that they had a red flag law back in 2019 and it seems that that information would be entered into the future so if in the future, and he didn't have guns at the time, but if in the future he decided to purchase a gun, they would have to take a deeper dive into his background because clearly this person has some issues that need to be addressed.


And so I don't know what happened there. And we'll have to talk to the state police to find out exactly what took place when they were notified or after they were notified of the incident with the knives.

ROMANS: So police who knew the alleged shooter say that he was quiet, lonely, an outcast. I feel like we've heard this sort of profile before. Does anything stand out to you about the suspect that investigators will focus on here?

RAMSEY: Well, nothing in particular stands out other than the postings that we've found now on social media which clearly was a red flag. And again, that is why it is so important that friends, family, others that watch social media, it is impossible for law enforcement to monitor social media across the country for everyone. And I don't think that you want police doing that anyway.

But when family or friends or anyone starts to pick these things up, they have got to make a call so that the person is on the radar, so you can take a dealership dive into their social media, so you can interview them, find out whether or not they are looking to harm themselves or others. And so, you know, we keep saying that over and over again, every time we have one of these things, because when you go back and look at social media or other areas, you did see the red flags. But they don't come to attention until after the fact and, of course, that's not helpful.

ROMANS: Yeah, hindsight is 2020, and just such a tragedy.

Charles Ramsey, thank you so much this morning for us.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

ROMANS: And now we remember those seven people killed at the Highland Park parade. Irina and Kevin McCarthy, they are the parents of a 2- year-old Aidan who was left orphaned. The toddler was found alive in the aftermath wandering in the aftermath of the parade, helped by passers by and edgily taken to the police station where he was reunited with his family, his grandfather, he is being cared for by family. A GoFundMe page for them has raised almost $1.9 million so far.

And 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim is identified by her synagogue as a life long member of her synagogue.

And Stephen Straus, 88, is remembered by family as one who loved to be ultimate side and biked even in his 80s.

Nicholas Toledo-Zaragoza was a father of eight, grandfather to many more. He had traveled from Mexico to visit his family. Two family members were also injured that day. He was 78 years old.

And 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein of Highland Park.

Authorities have not yet released the name of the seventh victim and, of course, many more are injured right now and trying to deal with the injuries.

The mayor of Uvalde, Texas, says he is concerned about a cover-up in the investigation there of how law enforcement officials responded to the massacre at Robb Elementary School. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed, well-armed officers waited outside a classroom for more than an hour before engaging the gunman.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin wants the Texas governor to intervene to ensure the truth comes out. He sat down with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.


MAYOR DON MCLAUGHLIN (R), UVALDE, TEXAS: I think it's a cover up on --


MCLAUGHLIN: McCraw is covering up for --


MCLAUGHLIN: For maybe his agencies. Maybe he told the story that he told, you know, it is hard -- you know, what do they say, it is always hard when you tell a lie, you have to keep telling a lie. I'm not saying he was lying. Maybe he was misled with the information.

PROKUPECZ: But he hadn't changed his story, right, since that Friday. And then he did the Senate hearing. And I think --

MCLAUGHLIN: This was --

PROKUPECZ: And he was even more emphatic about Chief Arredondo being the man who was responsible for everything here, blaming everything on him.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, again, you know, every agency in that hallway will have to share the blame. And like I said, again, I'll go back to when have you ever seen a federal or state law enforcement officer take their cues from local law enforcement?

PROKUPECZ: DPS is the big agency in the state.


PROKUPECZ: And the governor -- I mean, they report directly to the governor.


PROKUPECZ: So do you think that McCraw should step aside, should step down, should resign?

MCLAUGHLIN: I think that he will have to be held accountable when this is all said and done too. We all are. I mean, like I said, I mean, you can't -- your story can't change on something this horrific three times -- four times in three days.


MCLAUGHLIN: And that's what he's done.

Let's be candid.

PROKUPECZ: Yeah. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, when I got to that scene, there were 30 to 40 DPS officers already on scene. And in the various videos, you see them running around with flak jackets on and ballistics helmets on and different things. That is video shown from the outside.

But yet, we want to talk about no presence of DPS there in the hallway? I know at one time, there were 14 of them in the hallway. If they stayed there or not, I can't tell you because I haven't seen the video. But, I mean, you know, like I said, if this is a failure, it is a failure on everybody's part.


PROKUPECZ: Well, it is a failure. You can't say if this is a failure.


PROKUPECZ: You have to say it is a failure.

MCLAUGHLIN: It is a failure, but that failure, every agency there has to own part of that.

PROKUPECZ: Your issue is that everything is being pointed towards one place.


PROKUPECZ: In some way.

MCLAUGHLIN: And if we point to -- if we point everything over here, then the truth is not going to come out. And these families and this community, they deserve to know what happened.

PROKUPECZ: Are you concerned that the truth is not going to come out?

MCLAUGHLIN: I think that we'll get to the truth. I think they put themselves -- backed themselves in a corner and they don't have a way out yet. And they're just trying to figure how do you -- because they released so much B.S. in my opinion that they put themselves in a corner. So, how do you come out of the corner?


ROMANS: McLaughlin wants the victims' families to have some closure, he says, that it will never heal their pain but they need to know the truth about what really happened that day.

Three key Trump allies subpoenaed by a grand jury in Georgia, among them a sitting U.S. senator.

And huge blow to Boris Johnson, two of his top ministers just stepped down.

Plus --

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you naturally die as quickly as (EXPLETIVE DELETED) possible you (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


ROMANS: Vile threats against a member of the January 6 committee. That's next.



ROMANS: All right. It's a huge blow for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after two members of his cabinet resigned Tuesday night saying they could no longer work for a government that was mired in scandal.

CNN's Max Foster is live for us right there at 10 Downing Street in London.

Max, he has proven to have nine lives in government this past year. Is this the end of the road for Boris Johnson this time?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Never write him off. That's what I'd say, Christine. It's not just a wave of resignations, it's now a tidal wave. I think we can call it that.

We just heard about another one today. This is from a junior minister, Robin Walker. He was the school standards minister, bringing total the number of resignations in the last 24 hours to 13. This is the crisis of confidence that Boris Johnson is currently facing. So, this latest statement of resignation talking about the government being overshadowed by mistakes and questions about integrity, this is all about whether or not Boris Johnson can be trusted.

There was a scandal recently. He said he didn't know about it, then admitted that he did know about it, and then everybody started questioning whether he could be trusted on future crises. There have been so many, as you suggest, but the really big blow is what you mentioned last night, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid stepping down, very senior members of the cabinet.

But in true Boris Johnson style, he just replaced them straight away. We expect to hear from him at lunchtime, UK Time, and he will probably talk about this being dealt with and the time to move on, and focus on the priorities of the nation. But I think that there is real pressure on the back benches of the party to do something this time about his leadership and they are looking into ways of basically getting him out.

ROMANS: All right. It's so nice to see you, Max Foster, right there for us this morning. Thanks, Max.

ROMANS: Russian forcing shelling a major city in Donetsk. At least two people killed and Ukraine says civilians are being deliberately targeted.

Plus, why a growing number of Democrats are frustrated, even fed up with President Biden's performance.



ROMANS: In Ukraine, Russian forces have been shelling near Donetsk, killing two people, injuring seven. Ukrainian military officials say Moscow is deliberately targeting areas where civilians are gathered. They are calling for all residents to evacuate.

CNN's Scott McLean live in Kyiv for us.

You know, Scott, Ukraine is calling these attacks pure terrorism.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, pure terrorism, Christine, because once again the Ukrainians say that the Russians are intentionally targeting civilians, this time it was a central market and some other residential areas in the northern city of Donetsk -- or the city of Sloviansk, in the northern part of Donetsk, excuse me.

The local governor is really urging people to get out if they haven't already. But the reality is that some people simply won't go until it is too late. My colleague Phil black was on the front lines just this week and some people said they didn't want to leave share homes, their gardens, the thought of packing your belongings, packing up your kids and going into the unknown is a little too daunting.

Now, the Russians have in their crosshairs, Sloviansk, also the city of Kramatorsk, which they seem to be moving towards and they have at their advantage a lot more fire power when it comes to artillery. But the Ukrainians also say that they are sustaining heavy losses which is hampering their efforts to move forward.

Now, CNN can't verify losses on either side, but even some pro-Russian commentators have been critical of the Russian efforts of take successfully the city of Lysychansk that it was far too costly in terms of human lives.

Ukrainians are also not just sitting on their hands. Pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk, or in Donetsk, excuse me, say that Ukrainian artillery struck the city of Donetsk in an area where there is some car dealerships, some parts stores, videos from that area show subsequent explosions can which suggest that there was ammunition there, a legitimate military target. But the separatists also claim that 10-year-old girl was killed in those attacks -- Christine.

ROMANS: It's terrible. All right. Scott McLean, thank you so much for that from Kyiv.

A Georgia grand jury subpoenas key Trump allies, what it could mean for the criminal investigation in efforts to overturn the election results. Republican member of the January 6 Committee shares profanity laced threatening calls to his office.

Plus, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' political war chest is overflowing, but is it packed for re-election and a presidential run? [05:25:00]


ROMANS: A Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results issuing new subpoenas, the target, key Trump allies. They include lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a member of the January 6 Committee, calls it a significant step.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I think that that is a very big deal. These are the individuals who we have shown through our hearings conspired with bogus claims of fact, bogus legal theories to essentially overturn the democracy. Many of them have refused to tell the truth to us. They will find a very different situation in Georgia and this criminal grand jury.


ROMANS: Let's bring in Margaret Talev, CNN political analyst and managing editor at "Axios".

So nice to see you.

Big names subpoenaed by the Fulton County D.A., even a sitting senator. You heard Zoe Lofgren there say this is a different set of circumstances.