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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

At Least 6 Killed in Virginia Walmart Mass Shooting; 3 Million People Expected to Line Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Route; German Team Holds Silent Protest for Free Speech. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 05:00   ET



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

We begin with new information about the deadly Walmart shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, and how it unfolded.

Police were first called at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday. They arrived within two minutes and made their way inside the store two minutes after that. The scene was declared safe around 11:20 p.m.

The gunman was an overnight team leader at that Walmart store. He worked there since 2010. Witnesses say he walked into the break room, pulled out a gun and started firing.


BRIANA TYLER, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: He shot near my head and it was about inches away. But in that moment, it still hadn't really kicked in that it was real because I was thinking it was like a simulation type of thing, like this is what we do if we had an active shooter, and the reason I think it was that because I recognized his face.

KEVIN HARPER, WALMART EMPLOYEE: Just left the break room. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)]. Started capping people up in there. Started shooting them.


WILD: CNN's Brian Todd has more detail from Chesapeake, Virginia.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Whitney, we have new information from the Chesapeake police on how this unfolded and the suspect themselves. They identify him as 31-year-old Andre Bing. Walmart confirms that he was the suspect in this case and that he was an overnight team leader on their overnight shifts for the store that he had been with them since 2010.

But police now saying that Bing did not wear any body armor or a ballistic vest at the time of the shooting. They say that 50 people were believed to be inside the Walmart at the time of the shooting. Police and law enforcement sources tell us that Bing went into a break room and fired on the people who were gathered in there.

One witness, Briana Tyler, told us there were maybe 10 or 15 people inside that room at the time that this shooting occurred, including her. She's an employee there. Briana Tyler told us she had been previously warned by other employees to, quote, look out for Andre Bing, that he is the kind of person that would write up people for very little reason, who was just someone who always had some kind of an issue around him, some kind of a controversy there at the store.

She gave an account that was really riveting of what happened to her there. She said that the shooter came in and just started opening fire on people in that break room, that he had no expression on his face. That he was not firing on anyone in particular. He was turning and firing at people indiscriminately.

She said that he looked her right in the eye and fired at her but that a bullet just whisked by her head and then he left the room. At that point, she scrambled out of the room. Just a riveting account from Briana Tyler who lost a friend in that shooting who died right next to her in that room.

Now, we have reached out to Walmart for some additional detail on this suspect. We have asked them whether -- first if they could respond to Briana Tyler's account that she had been warned by other employees about his behavior and tow respond to our questions as to whether he had had any disciplinary issues or was subject to any disciplinary measures while he worked here. We also asked them whether other people had complained about Andre Bing. They have not responded to those questions -- Whitney.


WILD: Many more questions than answers at this point.

Brian Todd, thank you.

So, let's bring in CNN's senior law enforcement analyst and former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

So, former commissioner, we are hearing from Walmart employees that there were some red flags that they observed. Let me just read you one thing that a former employee told us. He was always saying the government was watching him. He didn't like social media. He kept black tape on his phone camera.

Another person said he said that if he ever got fired from his job he would retaliate and people would remember who he was. So, you know, certainly concerning comments but we don't have any information at this point that anything would have precluded him from purchasing a firearm or obtaining a firearm.

So could any of these warning signs, you know, startling comments have done anything to prompt law enforcement to take more action before this shooting happened? CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I haven't

heard anything that would prompt law enforcement to come in and take action, seize guns, things of that nature. I mean, he obviously was not a very good boss, that is true, but he's not the only person that falls into that category. The majority of them obviously don't engage in mass shootings. That by itself doesn't tell me anything that would lead me to believe that he was going to do something like he did that would prompt law enforcement, if they knew in advance, to take any kind of action.


So this is one of those things where, you know, it's easy to find a red flag after the fact but in reality during that period of time, I don't think anyone called police or made any notification that they thought he was a danger to themselves or to himself. It's just a person who was odd, who nitpicked a lot and wasn't a very good supervisor.

WILD: So, right now, you know, determining the killer's motive is clearly a top priority. The case is going to play out a little bit more differently because the gunman is dead. So, there's not going to be trial of the suspect.

But else are law enforcement officers trying to do here? They're trying to determine a motive. What's next in the investigation?

RAMSEY: Well, they executed a search warrant I'm told at his home. If he had a car, they would have searched that. They're looking for any information at all.

He was disgruntled. He obviously had a beef with some of the people that he targeted. There were 50 people in the store. He passed up a lot of people. If the goal had just been to kill, he didn't have to go all the way to the break room in order to do that.

The one thing I'm not certain about, there was a woman who was shot in the head in the parking lot apparently. I don't know if she was an employee, if she's somehow related to him, if she's just a random victim. That I don't know at this point in time.

But it just looks like a workplace shooting unfortunately that took place from a very disgruntled employee. But really I don't -- at least from what I'm hearing now didn't give any signs that he was going to resort to that violence.

WILD: So far this year, there have been more than 600 mass shootings alone. The number is absolutely mind boggling. You've been the top law enforcement official in multiple cities that were hit very hard by gun violence in your time leading those departments.

So, what can law enforcement do? What can politicians do? What is the answer here?

RAMSEY: Well, more than 600 is certainly alarming, but that doesn't even count the number of people that are murdered on the streets of our cities every day as a result of gun violence, one, two, three at a time. They don't hit the mark of what a mass shooting is. It's rarely reported nationally.

But gun violence is a problem, and it's not new. It's been around a while. Part of the problem, like everything else, lawmakers will give thoughts, prayers, all that kind of stuff but they won't do anything concrete that really will make a difference and people have short memories. A week from now we'll all be talking about something different and so we lose focus and we don't take the steps necessary.

Law enforcement can only do so much. We have weak gun laws here and we've got to really look at universal background checks, including private sales. You've got to ban assault weapons, extended clips. We've got reporting guns lost or stolen on a mandatory basis.

I mean, there's a lot of things that could be done but our elected officials do not have the courage to do it and citizens of this country are dumb enough to keep putting them back in office over and over again.

So, this is going to happen again. It is not going to change. We can't pray our way out of this. We have to take action and that's -- I just don't see it happening.

WILD: Sobering words on this Thanksgiving morning in a week of a lot of bloodshed.

Former Commissioner Charles Ramsey, thank you.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

WILD: Again, this is the second mass shooting we're bringing you this week.

The suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub shooting is being held without bail. They're working through what charges are applicable here. Anderson Lee Aldrich made his first court appearance on Wednesday. CNN's Rosa Flores brings us inside that courtroom.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich appearing in court via video for the first time since the shooting.

JUDGE: Do you have any questions about those rights?


FLORES: Seated, visibly bruised and battered and leaning to one side.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We would ask that the court allow the defense to have a copy of the arrest warrant unsealed.

FLORES: Aldrich was released from the hospital and booked into the El Paso County jail. That booking photo clearly showing the bruising of the suspect's face and head after being tackled, kicked in the head and beaten with the suspect's own handgun by army veteran Richard Fierro and other clubgoers who stepped in to stop the killing at Club Q.

The district attorney prosecuting the case speaking after the hearing.

MICHAEL ALLEN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There was nothing communicated to me that he would be physically incompetent to be here today.

FLORES: Aldrich's defense team declined comment. Court documents filed late Tuesday by the defense state that Aldrich identifies as nonbinary and goes by the pronoun they/then.

GLAAD, the guy and alliance, released a statement responding to the court documents saying in part, regardless of the motive, the LGBTQ community has been and continues to be under attack.


The district attorney was asked if the nonbinary designation impacts the investigation.

ALLEN: I refer to every one of those as defendants and it has no impact on the way I prosecute this case.

FLORES: Saying his focus is on the crimes as well as all of the victims and the survivors.

ALLEN: We are going to be the voice of the victims in the courtroom and we will be fighting alongside them in this entire process.


FLORES (on camera): The suspect is in custody without bond. The next hearing is scheduled for December 6th.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

WILD: Rosa Flores, thank you.

OK, switching gears now. We are just hours away from the start of a great New York City tradition, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Here is a live look at glittering New York City. Some 3 million people expected to line the streets as the parade makes its way along the west side towards Macy's flagship store in Herald Square.

This year new balloons will be joining the parade like Stewart the Minion and Baby Shark.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is live on the parade route where surely, eventually, she's going to hear 3 million people sing in unison, "Baby Shark". We'll see. We'll see.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Including my 4-year-old.

WILD: Yes, exactly. And my kids, too. So, OK, so, Brynn, is anybody out right now? It's only 5:00 a.m.

you've got a couple of hours to go. But is anybody out there?

GINGRAS: Listen, Whitney, I have been doing news in New York City for 10 years. I've never worked at the parade. I am astounded at how many people are here. I will show you that in the next half hour because I have to get to the balloons first.

I have to say this, Whitney. I feel like in recent years it was always suspense. Are the balloons going to fly? There's no question today. It is gorgeous out here. You can see right behind me this is the starting plug, big turkey with the Macy's star right there. This is where the parade is going to kick off. That's where we're going to start. We'll have Walter loop around because these are all the big stars other than the celebrities of course.

These are the balloons you're talking about. There are a number of new ones that you mentioned, Whitney. These are some of the old ones. The Yoda, the Macy's stars and they stretch down this whole street because, of course, the inflation was last night of all of these spectacular balloons.

It is going to be quite a show because the weather is just perfect. It is beautiful out. Yes, the streets already of this parade route are lined with people wearing their blankets. Some people still sleeping but making sure that they get their spot for the big show.

WILD: You have to earn your spot along that route. What is NYPD saying now about the safety for parade goers?

GINGRAS: Yeah, listen. You just covered all these incidents that have happened across the country. Obviously the NYPD very much aware of that. I'm going to loop around more. You can see the sea of NYPD that are here already. There are going to be officers that are seen like this but then also there are going to be officers and NYPD and counterterrorism and others working behind the scene.

We're told there are cameras installed and all around the country. There was an attempt thwarted last weekend. The parade will be safe. It will be an exciting event.

We'll see you back in a half an hour. Again, we're going to talk to some of these people who are staking it out this early in the morning.

WILD: Yes, those are the stories we want to hear. Who is tough enough to be out there many hours for the parade. It's a long day.

OK. Brynn Gingras, thank you so much. We'll see you in a bit.

Ahead, the Justice Department wants to question former Vice President Mike Pence and its criminal investigation of Donald Trump. The question, though, is will the former vice president cooperate?

Plus, explosions in Jerusalem. Israel calling it a combined terror attack. We're live on the ground, next.



WILD: Welcome back.

Israeli official worry there could be more attacks like the back-to- back explosions in Jerusalem on Wednesday. A teenage boy was killed then, 18 others were injured. No one has claimed responsibility. No one has been arrested. Police are calling the explosions a combined terror attack.

CNN's Hadas Gold is live in Jerusalem.

Hadas, what are police doing to protect people?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Whitney, this was a very unusual attack. Two bags placed at two different spots, filled with nails, ball bearings, screws, and then detonated remotely by itself, and that's what police believe happened. As you noted, a 15-year-old was killed, and 18 injured including two American citizens.

Now, this is unusual because Jerusalem, Israel, haven't seen attacks like this in many years. For many people, it's bringing back memories of the Second Intifada when there were regular suicide bombings and bombings at bus stations and the like.

In terms of what police are doing, they have drastically released the number of police on the ground, especially Jerusalem. We've seen it yesterday. A lot more police out. A lot of them looking pretty heavily armed but the police are telling citizens and residents of Jerusalem to continue on with life as normal, but just to be very vigilant especially if they see anything unusual like bags being left on the side of the road.

In terms of the investigation, there has been, as you noted, no claims of responsibility although militant groups like Hamas, Palestinians, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah have praised the attack. None have claimed responsibility. The police have not indicated they've made any sort of arrest.

What's really interesting is actually yesterday there was a court- ordered gag order on the media that was asked for by the police. This prevents the media in Israel from reporting on any leaks in the investigation. This happens when authorities don't want the potential perpetrators to have any idea where this investigation is going.

Now we wait and see when that gag order might be lifted and when we might hear of any sort of moves forward of finding who actually placed these bombs -- Whitney.


WILD: Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thank you.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for an emergency meeting with the U.N. Security Council. He is urging members to support a peace formula after a wave of Russian missile strikes pounded the country on Wednesday, killing at least seven people. That attack knocked out power systems and destroyed residential housing and a hospital where a newborn baby was killed.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live in London for us.

So, Salma, how is Ukraine dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's devastating missile attack?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, so devastating were the strikes that neighboring Moldova lost electricity. That's how hard the power grid was hit by nearly 70 Russian missiles launched yesterday. Let's start by taking stock of the consequences of that. Yes, many of those missiles shot down by Ukraine's air defense systems, rather. But those that were able to hit their target, that caused really huge damage.

Nearly every single electricity consumer in Ukraine was cut off from power at some point yesterday. In the capital Kyiv, almost every single resident was cut off from running water. Some of that has been restored. Emergency workers have been working around the clock through the night and they have been able to bring back some services.

But for President Zelenskyy, this was yet another violation by the Kremlin. He called an emergency Security Council meeting yesterday. That was granted and he did address the security council yet again accusing Russia of terrorism, of war crimes, of essentially trying to ramp up civilian suffering in an attempt to break the resistance, break the will of Ukrainians. President Zelenskyy said that's absolutely not going to happen but that's what you're going to see happen more and more here.

Two front war, the actual battlefield and Ukrainians relying on their partners ever more to try to keep the very basics going, water/power.

WILD: Salma Abdelaziz, thank you.

All right. Ahead, more protestors at the world cup. Why Germany's players covered their mouths in this team photo

And Liz Cheney pushing the final report on Donald Trump but she's getting push back. We'll explain all of this coming up next.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START, 5:26 past the hour now.

The World Cup upsets keep shocking fans around the world. The latest stunner, Japan beating Germany. Before the match the German squad covered their mouths for their team photo to protest FIFA's ban on "OneLove" arm bands. The German minister wore that band as she sat next to FIFA's president.

CNN's Amanda Davies joins us from the World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Amanda, what is the German team saying about that photo?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yeah, Whitney. You may have denied us the arm bands, but you won't be stopping us to use our voice. That was very much the message from Germany as they took to the pitch ahead of their game against Japan, and then used that really emotive gesture, as they put it, to promote diversity and mutual respect.

You have to say FIFA seemed to have seen something of sense. They've said the Germans won't be punished for that action. So a small win for them there on a day of a big upset in terms of their football. The four-time world champions letting a 1-goal lead slip to see them fall to a 2-1 defeat to Japan.

And the Japanese fans winning themselves some supporters after their incredible move after the final whistle not heading out straight to celebrate but picking up some bin bags and collecting all their rubbish in the stands. That puts football in prospect.

Today we have many people's pre-tournament favorites Brazil kicking off their campaign against Serbia. We see Cristiano Ronaldo take to the pitch for the first time for Portugal. They take on Ghana.

Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo ending his relationship with Manchester United just a couple of days ago. That is the game that I am going to. We're 20 minutes in to Switzerland against Cameroon still goalless as things go. Certainly a tasty treat for people to get involved in on Thanksgiving.

WILD: So many major headlines coming out of the world cup this week. Amanda Davies, thank you so much.

All right. Coming up ahead, Idaho police are sorting through at least 1,000 tips in the murders of four university students, but police still don't have any solid leads.

Plus, Sarah Palin's political comeback in Alaska denied.

And the balloons are ready to take flight in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We're live along the route, next.