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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Investigators Search for Motive Behind Walmart Mass Shooting; E. Jean Carroll Files New Battery, Defamation Suit Against Trump; Ukraine: Overnight Russian Shelling Hits Near Nuclear Plant; UN Official: "Full-Fledged Human Rights Crisis" in Iran. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 25, 2022 - 05:00   ET



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

We begin with the latest on the Walmart shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, that took the lives of six employees. Survivors and investigators are consumed with just one question, why did a former Walmart colleague open fire on their break room earlier this week? There have been three mass shootings since September 13th leaving 14 chairs empty on Thanksgiving.

In addition to the six Walmart employees who lost their lives, three football players were killed at the University of Virginia and five people were shot to death at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Chesapeake, Virginia, and brings us the story of those left behind after this latest round of killings.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harrowing stories of survival after another mass shooting.

JESSIE WICZEWSKI, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: The only thing that made it real was the vibrations hitting your chest and the ringing from the gun going off. And it just kept going and going.

GALLAGHER: Jesse, a new employee at the Chesapeake Walmart, hid under a table until she came face-to-face with the shooter.

WICZEWSKI: And he just had the gun up to my forehead and -- it's just really hard. He told me to go home.

GALLAGHER: The city of Chesapeake identifying the shooter at 31-year- old Andre Bing. He was an overnight team lead. According to employees, Bing entered the break room as employees were clocking in to start their shifts.

KEVIN C. HARPER, WALMART SHOOTING WITNESS: Just left out of the break room, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) come in there and started capping people up in there, started shooting.

GALLAGHER: Investigators were seen searching the alleged shooter's home and police say the gunman was armed with several magazines and a pistol. Briana Tyler witnessed the shooting and says there were around 15 to 20 people in the break room when the shooter entered.

BRIANA TYLER, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: He didn't say a word. He didn't point at anyone. He didn't look at anyone specific. He just had a blank stare on his face and he just literally looked around the room and shot and people were dropping to the floor.

GALLAGHER: Six employees were shot and killed, including a 16-year- old. Police believe the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a body of a person they just brought out in a shopping cart?

GALLAGHER: According to police, two employees were found dead in the break room, another victim was found in the front of the store and three victims were taken to local hospitals but later died. Six others were injured.

Twenty-four-year-old survivor Jaylon Jones was in the break room and shot multiple times, including in his back, his mother told CNN affiliate WTKR.

KIMBERLY SHUPE, SURVIVOR JAYLOR JONES' MOTHER: He was on the ventilator. He wasn't able to breathe on his own from the gunshot wounds he sustained. But now he's talking. He's just glad to be alive.


GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, in speaking with survivors, employees, former employees about the shooter, almost all of them say he exhibited odd and sometimes threatening behavior, saying he relished in having his power in his position, that he was sometimes mean and condescending, aloof or a loner, but every one of those people say that in no way, shape or form did they ever think it would come to this.

Dianne Gallagher, CNN, back to you.

WILD: Dianne, thank you.

Let's bring in Chuck Marino. He's a former Secret Service supervisory special agent. He's now the CEO of Sentinel Security Solutions.

So, Chuck, in your experience with the Secret Service, which has a very robust threat assessment section, it is a primary pillar of all the work the Secret Service does.

So, I'm wondering, when you look at the case of the Walmart shooter, could any of the red flags mentioned by Walmart employees have stopped this shooting before it happened? CHUCK MARINO, CEO, SENTINEL SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Yeah, they possibly

could have. I'm going to go into that in a little greater detail. With Walmart, we're seeing it tied to a workplace violence incident, but overall, we're seeing the motivations in each and every one of these situations is very specific to the attacker. And it's typically associated with some type of perceived wrong that you and I and the rest of the country may not see as rational or understandable. So, it gets very tough to get very down into the weeds to understand what the specific motivations are and why those wrongs are being perceived to the point by the attacker of carrying out these violent actions.


But what we're seeing overall, Whitney, is we're seeing a breakdown in society for the overall respect of human life. We're seeing breakdowns in people's mental health, their family support, we're seeing breakdowns in gun laws like red flag laws that are there in place to connect the dots and they're not doing so effectively.

And we're also seeing a breakdown when concerns do exist as they did in this case, why are they either not being reported or acted upon correctly?

WILD: Is there any accountability for Walmart here? What responsibility do employers have to monitor this type of behavior and remove problem employees before there is a critical incident?

MARINO: You know, a lot of these large corporations like Walmart do have workplace violence programs and preventative measures in place, along the lines of see something, say something. We'll have to wait until something comes out on this specific attacker's personnel file to see if any previous complaints were filed with the company and what actions were taken, if any. But typically, these large corporations are required to have robust workplace violence programs.

WILD: So, in the case of the Colorado suspect, that suspect facing a list of charges, that including some hate crime charges as well at this point. In that case as well there was a pattern of concerning behavior, there have been a previous arrest, but it doesn't look like that case actually resulted in a conviction that would have stopped this person from obtaining a firearm or possessing a firearm.

So, the question, you know, just to put it plainly, is what in these cases is not happening that should be happening?

MARINO: Well, I think we're seeing as part of the breakdowns in society is there's no longer that deterrence through effectively following and carrying out law and order to include prosecution and punishment. So, what's happening is in this cases where they should be picked up by red flag laws, and we see this with the shooter in Virginia as well, is that they're being charged with a crime sometimes involving weapons, like in Virginia, a previous handgun charge, here in Colorado springs with threats of bombs, using bombs, and what we're seeing is we're seeing these get pled down. They're getting pled down in the judicial process to the point they're no longer applicable and no longer affect the red flag laws and they don't pull into action, preventing these people from getting guns.

So, we really need to look at what charges people are being faced with and how to keep those intact, especially when they involve threats or weapons previously to make sure that that stays intact and can be entered into a system that could prevent these people from getting guns, because let's face it, guns are overwhelmingly getting into the hands of people who should not have them.

WILD: Chuck Marino, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate your insight.

MARINO: Thanks, Whitney.

WILD: Meanwhile, President Biden is renewing his call to ban assault weapons after the most recent mass shootings.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea, the idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It's just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero, none, not a single rationale for it except profiting the gun manufacturer.


WILD: The suspect in the LGBTQ shooting in Colorado Springs did use an assault style weapon according to police. In Walmart shooting, it was a different case, different situation. That shooter used a handgun and multiple magazines to carry out that horrific crime.

Congress is going back to the hill next week. They have a very long to-do list. Gun legislation, though, specifically the assault weapons ban just does not have the votes to pass.

A former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing Donald Trump under a new law that just took effect on Thursday that allows adults who are alleging sexual assault to bring claims years after the attack.

CNN's Kara Scannell brings us the details of that case.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Ex-magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll has filed a new lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. Carroll is suing Trump for battery and defamation. She says the former president had raped her in the mid 1990s in a dressing room of a New York City department store. She also says he defamed her when he denied the allegations of rape, saying that he didn't know who she was, and she made up the assault to boost sales of her new book.

This is the second lawsuit brought by Carroll, but the first time to hold the president accountable for the alleged assault. Carroll is bringing this lawsuit under the new New York state law, called the Adult Survivors Act. That allows any adult to bring a lawsuit against anyone that they say sexually assaulted them, no matter how long ago the alleged attack occurred.

Trump attorney Alina Habba responded to the lawsuit, saying: While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this act which creates a terrible precedent and the runs the risk of delegitimizing the credibility of actual victims.

Lawyers say to expect a flood of lawsuits under this new law. If you look to a 2019 law that was passed that allowed child victims to bring claims, there were 11,000 lawsuits brought in that two-year window.

Back to you.


WILD: Kara Scannell in New York, thank you.

Well, coming up, Russian missile strikes knocking out power all over Ukraine, forcing surgeons to operate by torch light.

Plus, an arrest warrant for the friend of a North Carolina woman who was found dead last month while vacationing in Mexico.

And the U.S. men's team preparing for a huge challenge. They are taking on England today in the World Cup. We'll take you live to Qatar.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifteen minutes past the hour now.

About half of Ukraine's capital has no electricity after a wave of Russian missiles Wednesday took out power sites. Most of the country has been left in the cold just as temperatures are dropping. Russia shelled even more areas overnight. The region near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was among the areas hit.

CNN's Sam Kiley is there.

Sam, how are Ukrainians dealing with these outages?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're getting to be routine, to be honest. They're getting harder and harder to cope with. We've seen in the last 24, 36 hours scenes unprecedented in Ukraine even after nine months of war. Surgeons have been conducting heart surgery by torch light, we've also seen tragically here in Zaporizhzhia the death of a newborn baby when a maternity ward was hit by a missile in the last 20 minutes or so there's been another loud detonation. We don't know if that's incoming or outgoing here in Zaporizhzhia.

We've seen the nuclear power stations across the country disconnected from the national grid. They have been reconnected. That's problematic because that means cooling systems have to rely on local diesel generators themselves vulnerable to break down, fuel outages or attack.

That is something the international atomic energy authority has been extremely anxious about. And, of course, you have Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station just down the river from where I am which is in Russian hands being used by the Russians as a fire base and regularly there are exchanges of artillery fire close to and sometimes hitting facilities in that nuclear power station.

From the ordinary Ukrainian perspective, they are trying to get by. Cities like Kherson, which are in total blackout because the Russians destroyed the generating capacity in that city have also now been suffering from bombardment by the Russians from the other side of the river Dnipro just after they've withdrawn from that city, now carrying out attacks against civilian targets in the last 24 hours killing at least 7 people in that region and along the river.

WILD: CNN's Sam Kiley, thank you.

The U.N. has voted to carry out an independent investigation into the brazen human rights violations in Iran after the deadly crackdown on protesters who disagree with government restrictions. The dissent was sparked in September by the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police for not wearing a head scarf properly.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us from Istanbul.

What is the latest there?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Whitney, this vote by the United Nations seen has a huge victory for human rights advocates and so many Iranians who for years have been pushing the international community to establish an independent investigative and accountability mechanism to ensure the perpetrators in Iran are held accountable. You have the United Nations agreeing on this fact- finding mission to be formed. It will investigate the human rights violations that will take place during the human rights that will take place. It will collect and analyze evidence of these human rights violations and that could be used to try to hold those perpetrators of the crimes accountable in the future.

And the concern is, of course, you know, you hear some people saying this is long overdue, this should have happened a long time ago when you consider what's been going on in Iran for years and years right now. But at the same time, Whitney, it's coming at such a critical time. We heard the United Nations warning that the situation in Iran right now has turned into this full-blown human rights crisis.

You're seeing the death toll from this crackdown continuing to rise. The government is not backing down. It's still dismissing the protesters as rioters, as agents of foreign governments who are trying to destabilize Iran. At the same time, you were seeing these protests persisting. No sign of them stopping any time soon as it's turned into this popular uprising.

And we've heard from protesters telling us, there is absolutely no way they're backing down. They say they are going to continue demanding regime change. So, the concern is when you have that situation, it is only going to get worse.


And if you look at the staggering figures of this crackdown that we have seen coming from the United Nations, more than 300 people killed so far, more than 40 of them children. They say that's a conservative estimate. The numbers could be and they believe are much higher than that.

You have 14,000 people who have been arrested over the past two months and at least six people have been sentenced to death in what is being described as the sham and show trials. You know, the concern is the situation is going to get worse. So, it is very important, human rights advocates would tell you this fact-finding mission is established to try and deter the regime from carrying out more human rights violations, especially now as we're seeing this very critical situation and the fears that crackdown is going to get bloodier in the coming days and weeks, Whitney.

WILD: Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, thank you.

Still ahead, an arrest warrant issued for the friend of a woman found dead while on vacation in Mexico. What authorities say the evidence now shows.

And for the second straight day, China sets a record for daily COVID infections. We're live in Beijing.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START.

The post-Thanksgiving travel could be kind of slow and kind of soggy in parts of the United States. A storm system impacting the northeast with rain, low temperatures could bring snow to West Texas.

Let's get to meteorologist Derek Van Dam live in the CNN Weather Center.

So, this is just a good thing it didn't happen before Thanksgiving, but if you have to stay an extra day, that's how it works for, right?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, maybe you ate on the couch because you ate too much turkey. You can't use the excuse that you waited around and just used that turkey as that scapegoat. That is not the case. It's really going to be the weather that's going to impact you going forward because you can see, this really paints the picture of what we anticipate over the coming days as people wrap up their extended holiday weekend, coming home from family and friends. They have a lot of rain and even some snow to contend with. As Whitney mentioned, we have winter storm warnings for parts of new Mexico, western Texas.

And get a load of this. In the same state, into the Southeast, we have a flood watch. This includes the Houston metro region. We're looking out for the potential of additional rain. This is an already very saturated environment. This bulk of rain currently moving over the southeast, including Atlanta, was just here. Now we have a secondary storm system that's developing to its west. That's bringing the snowfall to New Mexico. It's also going to pull up a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and create heavy rain. Some of these thundershowers that develop within the next 24 to 48 hours could produce 2 to 3 inch per hour rain totals for that general area.

You can see both storm systems working together. It's going to move along the east coast. Unfortunately, what that means is potential for some travel delays in the skies for some of those major east coast cities. So, heads up, Dulles into LaGuardia. You have the potential on Sunday coming home.

WILD: All right. Derek Van Dam, thank you.

Prosecutors in Mexico have obtained an arrest warrant for an American woman whose friend was found dead in Cabo San Lucas. Twenty-five-year- old Shanquella Robinson was at a vacation rental property last month with six friends. Authorities say she died after one of them attacked her. Now, extradition proceedings for the suspect are under way.

CNN's Ryan Young has all the details.


A lot of people paying attention to this story. It's gone viral on the internet to try to figure out what happened to 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson. She died after arriving in Cabo San Lucas for what should have been a great time with six friends around October 28th.

What we do know and prosecutors are saying in Mexico that she was directly attacked by someone who was inside that residence. Now, all her friends returned back to America. We do know a warrant for arrest has now been issued for one of those friends. That name hasn't been released yet.

But on social media, there's video of an incident that happened inside that villa. It's gruesome as that woman is beaten and dragged around. She's not fighting back. We know authorities were called at some point to give her assistance. But it was too late and she suffered some sort of spinal cord injury. Friends were very upset to learn about what happened to their friend.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad it's getting the attention it needs. I wish it was like this from day one. I'm more disappointed that she was around people that she thought were her friends.


RYAN: Obviously, the Mexican authorities plan to bring whoever it was back to Mexico to face charges. We actually talked to Shanquella Robinson's father. He indicates to us that he believes the video online is his daughter who's not fighting back during this.

Remember, it was supposed to be six friends from college going on this vacation. So many questions. A young lady's life lost and now authorities stepping in -- Whitney.

WILD: Just a horrible story. Ryan Young, thank you for the details on that.

Well, a major test for the U.S. team facing off against England today at the World Cup. And Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro set to resume talks with the opposition after a very long delay.

Plus, they're all very good dogs but there can only be one winner. We'll bring you the best in show, coming up.