Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Suspect in LGBTQ Bar Attack Faces 5 Murder, Hate Crime Charges; Arizona Count Election Chief Moved to Undisclosed Location Due to Threats; Obama to Campaign for Sen. Warnock in Atlanta. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 05:00   ET



WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Whitney Wild, in for Christine Romans.

The suspect in the mass shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, now hospitalized and being held without bail. The court docket shows Anderson Lee Aldrich faces preliminary charges that include five counts of first degree murder and five hate crime charges.

In the aftermath, witnesses and victims tell stories of heroism, terror and mayhem.


FELICIA JUVERA, WITNESS: I remember the sound. I honestly thought it was the music, myself, until I smelled the actual gunpowder. The smell is what got me. And when Gil said to, you know, get down immediately, my initial thought, it was just to react.

GIL RODRIGUEZ, WITNESS: Once I kind of heard the gunshots stop shooting, I kind of scanned the room to ensure that he was not still in the room maybe, reloading or something. I did not see him at all, which kind of led me to spring up and, but my phone, I immediately called 911.


WILD: The suspected gunman was arrested last year after a standoff which started when he threatened to bomb his mother's home.

CNN has obtained video which appears to be a livestream of Aldrich ranting against police during that standoff.




WILD: More from Nick Watt in Colorado Springs.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Whitney, we now know the five names of the five victims killed here at Club Q, just across the way. This is the makeshift memorial to those five who died.

Their names Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump and Ashley Paugh. We also know the names of the two patrons of the club who subdued this shooter, who jumped on him, beaten with his own hand gun and stopped him from killing anymore.

RICHARD FIERRO, TOOK DOWN GUNMAN IN CLUB Q SHOOTING: I just started -- I found the creases between his armor and had, and I started wailing away with his gun. And then I told the kid in front of me, kick him, keep kicking him. And I was telling people, call 911, call 911, I got to protect my kid. I lost my kids boyfriend.

I tried, I tried to help everybody in there. I just feel bad that five people, five people that didn't go home. And this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) this guy, I hold him while I was hitting, him I will kill you, man, because you killed my friends. My family was in there.

WATT: Now, I also spoke with Barrett Hudson, a man sitting by the door of the club when the gunman burst in an open fire. Barrett was hit seven times, seven rounds hit him. One he says grazed him. Take a listen to what he told me.

BARRETT HUDSON, SURVIVOR COLORADO SPRINGS SHOOTING: They started counting up the bullet holes, I called my dad. He's my best friend. We have a great relationship. And I called him, and because I want him -- I wanted him -- I wanted him to hear my voice. I told him I was shot, I was bleeding out.

WATT: And as for the 22-year-old suspect, he is still in the hospital. When he gets out, we are told by the da that he will be appearing via video, and he will be told his arrest charges, the full charges are likely to come a couple of days after that, and the da says that, looking at five first degree murder charges, and if they can get the evidence, bias and hate crime charges as well. The D.A. saying that that is important to this community, that that is recognized, if indeed this was motivated by hate, which seems to have been, it is important to acknowledge that.


WILD: Absolutely. Nick Watt, thank you.

We are now learning that a leading top election official in Arizona's Maricopa County was forced to hide on Election Day, this because of threats to his safety. The Republican official has pushed back on false claims by election denying GOP candidates in Arizona about the midterm vote.


CNN's Stephanie Elam has a lot more on all of this.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Whitney, new details on Election Day in Arizona. A spokesperson for Maricopa County board of supervisors chairman, Bill Gates, confirmed to CNN that he was moved to an undisclosed location on election day, due to a specific threat to his safety made on social media. Gates was under the protection of the sheriff's office for that one night, however, the spokesperson says Gates still has increased security as he works in his official capacity.

Gates, who is a Republican, publicly pushed back on suggestions from those in his party that claim there were issues with how the county was conducting the election.

The county says it's officials and election workers saw an increase in threats during the election, and during the primary earlier this year. Maricopa is the most populous county in Arizona, and became the focus of conspiracy theorists after Donald Trump lost the state in his bid to retain the White House in 2020 -- Whitney.


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

Margaret, my first question for you is, Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor, has still not conceded, continues to promote these conspiracy theories about the votes in Maricopa County. She is directly targeting Bill Gates, who is again the Republican chairman, supervising the Maricopa County board of supervisors.

So when you look at the entire landscape here, the threat landscape we have been talking about for two years, that these election denying comments are persisting. They're resulting in real threats. How serious are comments like those being made from Kari Lake?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Whitney, Bill Gates is not a household name to most Americans. But if you live in Arizona or have been following everything since 2020 closely, he has been consistently a target because of his practice of speaking truth to the conspiracy theories in his own parties. And he has been consistently pushing back, not just against Kari Lake, not just against Blake Masters, but against all of the conspiracy theories, through Twitter, through education campaigns, public engagement with the voters in his state. And because he is a Republican, this has been a really tough spot.

Many people may not know that on January the 6th, Bill Gates said publicly he had to move his family, relocated family to an Airbnb in order to keep them safe. He's been besieged by threats since the 2020 election. I think we heard about all of this in the context of election volunteers, or Democrats. But this is in fact a Republican official, within his own party, a prominent, respected Republican in Maricopa County, who has literally had to hide his family to protect their safety for the last two years.

WILD: It's absolutely frightening.

Let's switch gears a little bit. So, we're going to go now to Georgia. Early voting for Georgia Senate runoff election begins today. Former President Barack Obama announced that he's going to campaign with Democratic Senator Warnock next week.

So, do you think that Obama is going to be able to give Warnock a boost that he needs to take this home?

TALEV: I mean, Warnock is going to be counting on every vote. Democrats and Republicans do not really know how to get turnout, it will be difficult to get to say, a level of enthusiasm across the board as it was in the general election.

So Warnock has been interesting here. He is looking to Obama to generate enthusiasm with the base among young people, African Americans, women, suburban voters across the board. But Obama is really the only Democratic, strong Democratic Party figure that he is looking to and counting on.

Most of Warnock's approach is looking at that block of split ticket voters, a couple hundred thousand people in Georgia, in the general election who voted for Republican Governor Kemp, and then across party lines to vote for the incumbent Senator Warnock, who are Democrats who voted for Warnock, but also crossed party lines to vote for Kemp.

And that is the bloc that Herschel Walker is focusing on as well. You would expect walker to wrap himself in the flag of Governor Kemp.

But Warnock is doing that also. And even as he's welcoming Obama, and Obama's timing is important as that last day, the night before the final day of in-person voting, even as he's relying on that strategy, he has also got adds up. This is the Democratic incumbent, who has adds up, with flip ticket voters, voters who picked Governor Kemp and then crossed party lines to vote for the senator, talking about why they did that.

So it is a two-pronged approach, trying to motivate the base with Obama, trying to motivate Democratic and swing voters with Obama, and at the same time, he is looking to Republicans who may not like Herschel Walker and saying, hey, remember how you voted for me a few weeks ago?


Could you please come back and do that again?

WILD: All right, let's not go to what's going on in the White House.

So, Vice President Harris is in the Philippines, she was asked if she was going to run with President Biden in 2024. So this is her response, let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president says he intends to run, and if he does, I will be running with him. I have no doubt about the strength of the work that we have done over these past two years.


WILD: So my question for you is, why is this even a question?

TALEV: That is a good question. You're right that you would expect the vice president of a sitting president to say that she would remain the running mate if that president sought election a second time. Really, there are two factors at work here. One is that there have been so many questions inside the Democratic Party about whether President Biden seek a second term, and the second variable of course, is that Harris has had lagging poll numbers. There are some Democrats who think she is not a strong compliment to his ticket.

But look, we do expect the vice president to say anything else? I am just not sure how much to read into her comments. What I read is oh, I just really want to focus on this thing in the Philippines and do that, or asking about this race.

And the same question she has asked, when will she go to Georgia, a subject we were just talking about. She said something to the effect of I don't know guys, I still haven't decided that yet, I'm still trying to find out what to do tomorrow. So, I'm not sure she made a decisive statement, so much as wishing that this conversation would go away for a little while.

Biden, in a new "USA Today"/Ipsos poll, emerging much stronger from those midterms. Many more Democrats, now than just two weeks ago saying they think he could win against Trump in a theoretical 2024 rematch. Do Harris's numbers come up with those? Does any of this mean anything? I think it is still November, 2022 and it is a little too early to know.

WILD: Okay, Margaret Talev, thank you so much.

TALEV: Thanks.

WILD: Vice President Harris, making a lot of headlines, announcing she is going to stick with Biden if he runs, and also calling out China for aggressive maneuvers in the South China Sea. Here with us again, in the Philippines right now, wrapping up this trip to Asia.

While she was there, she pledged to stand by the Filipino people in the face of China's intimidation. She delivered this message to Beijing.


HARRIS: As an ally, the United States stands with the Philippines in the face of intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea. We will continue to rally our allies and partners against unlawful and irresponsible behavior. When the international rules based order is threatened somewhere, it is threatened everywhere.


WILD: Harris met with the president of the Philippines to discuss 21 new projects funded by the United States, that includes more defense sites in the Philippines.

All right. Coming up next, a looming threat to the U.S. economy, a labor dispute that could shut down the company's freight rail system.

Plus, influenza and RSV outbreaks leaving hospitals to operate overcapacity while they are understaffed.

And silent protests at the World Cup, heard around the world.

All of that, next.



WILD: Welcome back.

Iran's national team made a powerful statement before that opening World Cup match.

You heard that? Nothing. They did not say anything during their national anthem in Qatar, in what appeared to be a sign of solidarity with protests back home against the Iranian regime.

CNN's Amanda Davies is live in Doha.

So, how did this clear message land within the stadium? How did people react to that?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, it has been very, very clear from the early stages. Even in the buildup to this tournament, there is a lot more than the football at stake, hasn't it?

And people were wondering how, if, what the Iran national team would do. And they very quickly answered those questions, walking out onto the pitch, alongside England, lining up for the national anthem. And then as you mentioned, absolutely showing solidarity, to the anti government protesters and people at home, by not singing the anthem.

It was a move which was cheered by members of the audience, the crowd, many of whom were supporting Iran with t-shirts, equally showing solidarity for those at home. Their captain had said ahead of the game, he and his teammates saw themselves as the voice of those people at home, and they were sending all of their sympathies to the three families of Iran. They got an update today, so we're not going to hear from the players today, but their next game on Friday, against Wales, then they face the USA a week from today.

WILD: And speaking of the U.S. team, how did they do in their opening match? DAVIES: Well, it was a long awaited eight years for the U.S., for

this World Cup match, wasn't it? But the problem though was their opponent, Wales, have been waiting 64 years for this moment. And they equally wanted the results.

I was there watching that one last night. Both sets of fans were in fantastic voice, as those national anthems were played. Just disappointing is how the U.S. defender Tim Ream put it, feeling something of a missed opportunity, despite some real positives, for their side.


It was a brilliant night for 23-year-old Timothy Weah, the man with a surname that is so famous in footballing circles, because of his dad in the 1990s.

He became the first African to win the Ballon d'Or. He's currently the president of Liberia. He was here last night with his family, watching on, as Tim scored his first goal for the U.S. at a World Cup Final.

Sadly though, Gareth Bale, the Welsh captain, had put off his retirement for this moment. He wasn't giving up without a fight. He scored the equalizer for Wales, so the points were shared.

Interesting though, good news for fans, every time the U.S. have left their first game undefeated in the World Cup, they qualified for their next round.

WILD: Okay, well, that -- we'll take that. We said yesterday, they were a long shot. We will take that today.

Amanda Davies, thank you.

All right. Homes destroyed, buildings toppled. More than 100 people killed in an earthquake in Indonesia. Rescue teams now racing against time to find survivors. That story is next.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Whitney Wild, in for Christine Romans,

This morning, the death was risen to more than 200 safety in Indonesia. Many of those killed are children. This was after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake reduced buildings to rubble, Monday. More than 1,000 people were injured. Search teams in west java trying to dig through the debris, right now that such an enormous task, because the landslide which was triggered by this earthquake displaced thousands of people.


ZAINUDDIN, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): If it were just an earthquake, only be houses would collapse. But it is worse because of the landslide. In this residential area, there were eight houses. All of the houses were buried and swept away.


WILD: CNN's Anna Coren now joins us live, from Hong Kong.

So, Anna, catches up to speed, what is the latest there?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Whitney, the search and rescue operation is still ongoing. It is now more than 24 hours since that earthquake hit a Cianjur province in West Java. This is about 75 kilometers southeast of the capital, it hit just after lunch, 1:20 in the afternoon, children had just finished, they are going back to the classroom throughout their discs.

Dozens of schools were damaged, and we are now learning from the National Disaster Management Agency, that the death toll has doubled, more than doubled. You mentioned 268, that is now the official death toll, 151 people are still missing, 58,000 people have been displaced, 22,000 homes have been destroyed, more than 1,000 people have been injured.

These numbers are staggering, considering what we had been reporting throughout the day. But that death toll has just been updated. You mentioned the earthquake, the 5.6 magnitude, that is not a big earthquake, but it was shallow, hence the aggressive and violent nature of that earthquake, and the destruction.

Then, of course, you have these landslides, multiple landslides in that region, which have just buried homes. Let's now have a listen to a mother, whose child is missing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The children were downstairs, I was upstairs getting laundry. Everything collapsed beneath me, I was crushed beneath this child. One of my kids is still missing. My house is flattened. Two of my kids survived, I dug them up. And this one. Two others, I brought here. One is still missing.


COREN: It is horrific to think what these people are going through. A makeshift hospital was set up outside the main hospital, because they thought it would collapse as well. There have been hundreds of aftershocks as a result of this earthquake.

Of course, Indonesia is an archipelago made up of many, many islands. And it is on this Ring of Fire, it is prone to earthquakes. But the president, Joko Widodo, he was there on site today at the disaster site, offering I should say, his condolences, offering compensations to the families of the victims.

But he said, Whitney, that the homes, the buildings that have been destroyed, they must be rebuilt to be earthquake resistant. WILD: Absolutely. Anna Coren, thank you.

Coming up, a new concern about a potentially crippling nationwide rail strike, ahead of the holidays.

And a top Russian lawmaker issues a warning to the West. We're live in Moscow.