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Police: 3 Dead In Washington Stage Shooting, Suspect At Large; Gun Violence Epidemic Scars Half Moon Bay, Monterey Park; California Reeling After Third Mass Shooting In 3 Days; Source: Classified Docs Found At Mike Pence's Indiana Home; Officials Give Update On Mass Shooting At California Farm; Suspect In Half Moon Bay Shooting To Be Arraigned Tomorrow; Officials: Half Moon Bay Suspect Used Legal Semi- Auto Handgun; Death Toll Rises To 8 In Half Moon Bay Shooting. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired January 24, 2023 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello everybody, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing, it's a sobering news day with us. A gunman killed seven in a shooting spring, leaves another California community reeling and the rest of us left to process the American routine of living with gun tragedy after gun tragedy.

Plus, right now, lawyers inside an Atlanta courtroom at issue. Just how much to make public from the seven-month Fulton County grand jury investigation into former President Donald Trump. And the Senate today putting ticket master under oath after a Taylor Swift ticket debacle stirs bad blood among hundreds of thousands of swifties. The exact same boss and scalpers are the real culprits here.

Up first for us, though, are staggering, sobering American reality. Yet, another dose of gun violence adding to a string of shootings, already staining the headlines. Right now, police in Washington state rushing to find this man. Officials say he walked into the Yakima gas station last night, opening fire and killing three. He then possibly carjacked a fourth person.

Let's get straight to CNN's Lucy Kafanov. Lucy, what do we know?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, the details are still coming in. But police say three people, at least three people are dead following that overnight shooting at a Circle K store in Yakima, Washington. That the man responsible for firing those shots is still at large. Matt Murray, the Yakima police chief calling this individual dangerous, telling reporters, "it's random" so there is a danger to the community. We don't have motive and we don't know why.

When officers arrived to the scene, they initially found three deceased individuals at the Circle K store, they quickly realized that there was a second incident to shooting potentially across the street and an AMPM gas station. The suspect was believed to have shot into a vehicle where there was another person that's at least what the police initially said. He got into that car he drove off. We don't know whether there's a fourth victim or what's going on with that other individual. Authorities are looking for a gray or silver sedan Chrysler, and Yakima police chief Matt Murray said they are working on "strong leads." He actually told CNN that the suspect initially in the lobby of the gas station, the doors were locked. He then went across the street to the Circle K.

As he's walking into that store, the police chief telling CNN that he pulled out his gun and there were two people getting food there, he shoots them both unfortunately, deceased at the moment - deceased. He then the suspect goes back to the gas station, shoots into this car and drives off. And we don't know at the moment who the car belongs to. The police do believe it could be the suspects, John?

KING: Lucy Kafanov, tracking this breaking news story for us. Appreciate the hustle. You know, you bring us more details as they come. The overnight violence in Washington state comes after three mass shootings in three days in California Monday Half Moon Bay just about 30 miles south of San Francisco transforming into another VISTA of American tragedy.

A mushroom farm and a truck stop now, crime scenes, at least seven were killed at the two locations one person remains in critical condition. The suspect that 67-year-old Asian man is in custody after police courted him in a strip mall parking lot. Officers found his semi-automatic handgun in his car. This morning the San Mateo County Sheriff providing a batch of new details.

The shooter targeted his victims. The gun he used was purchased legally. The suspect was not known to law enforcement and the sheriff says the attacker simply "snapped." Interviews also give us a glimpse of a community in shock, stunned that what they see happen elsewhere suddenly knocked on their doorstep.


MAYOR DEBORAH PENROSE, HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA: I'm still in shock. I think all of us are in shock. It was a horrific event. It shocked us. Our hearts are torn out of our chests for all these individuals and families, our neighbors, our friends, the people that work in our community and live in our community. We're a small agricultural coast side town and we have never experienced anything like this.


KING: To have pay now, we get the latest from CNN's Veronica Miracle.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, this horrific mass shooting happened at two different locations just about five minutes from each other here in Half Moon Bay. It was just before 2:30 in the afternoon that police caught that first 9/11 call of a shooting with multiple victims. And when deputies arrived at that first location, they discovered four bodies and a fifth person critically injured.

At the second location just a short distance away, they found another three bodies. All of this happening in the afternoon at a place where apparently these people work and also live. And so, there were children present, children who witnessed this massacre unfold.

About two hours after that initial 9/11 call came through, deputies say that one of their sheriff's deputies discovered 67-year-old Chunli Zhao in his car in the parking lot of a police substation apparently trying to turn himself in. He was arrested and taken into custody relative without incident.


They believe that he was acting alone. They don't know though what the motive could be as to why this unfolded, but they believe that he worked at one of the locations where the shooting took place. Here's what the vice mayor had to say about how the community is just reeling.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that we get to watch on the news. Never think there's going to come and hit home. Today, we want to use.


MIRACLE: John, of course, there are some disturbing similarities between this mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, and the one that happened a couple of days ago in Monterey Park in Southern California. But also specific to this community here, a trauma that really, I think is important to talk about is the fact that in the last couple of weeks, California has been battered by storms.

There has been torrential rains that have caused destruction, devastation, and deaths all across California, but specifically here, this agricultural community deeply impacted by recent flooding. And now these farm workers who are impacted by this mass shooting, of course, that's just another trauma on top of stress that is already deeply rooted in this community. So of course, so many things to recover from, including this recent mass shooting, John?

KING: This is CNN breaking news. We're going to bring you some brand- new breaking news exclusive CNN reporting. Just into us a source revealing, get this another discovery of classified documents, roughly a dozen government documents were uncovered at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence that home is in Indiana.

The search took place last week. The documents were found by one of the former Vice President's lawyers, the FBI was immediately notified. This fine, of course flies in the face of repeated Pence denials that he held on to any classified materials when he left the government.

The backdrop too, well, you all know there's two separate special counsels already investigating the current and the former President Joe Biden and Donald Trump for potential breaches as well and how they handled government secrets.

Our CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel is breaking this new story, CNN's justice correspondent Evan Perez, also with us. Jamie, walk us through what we know. JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, more documents. This is now number three former Vice President Mike Pence. Out of an abundance of caution, we are told he had a lawyer go through his house and double check boxes. They found four boxes in his home in Indiana. They say they had been sealed since the time he left his vice president. They go through the boxes, and they found roughly 12 documents that have appeared to have classified markings on them.

They immediately called this was last week, they immediately called the national archives to hand them over. It's our understanding the archives because of everything that's going on with Biden and Trump alerted the Justice Department. And the night of January 19, the FBI came to the came to the Pence home in Indiana, and they handed over those 12 documents.

For clarity, these boxes have not been stored in a secure place. They've been in his home, but I'm told they were sealed. However, when the lawyer found these 12 documents, they took the 12 documents and kept them in a safe until the FBI came.

KING: And so, this is not to pick on the former vice president because I think we now have seen that this can happen. But in November, as the Trump story was breaking, we did not know at this point about the Biden story. In the Trump story back in November, the former vice president sat down with ABC News that it was quite direct.


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS ANCHOR, ABC NEWS TONIGHT: Did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?


MUIR: Do you see any reason for anyone to take classified documents with them leaving the White House?

PENCE: Well, there'd be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area?


KING: Well, there were classified documents and they were in as you report an unprotected area. Do they have any explanation for that? Again, I don't say that to pick on the former vice president who is known as a cautious, meticulous person. But yet again, this has happened.

GANGEL: Look, we went through this with Biden, he said he was surprised. I think it's clear former Vice President Pence was surprised as well. These do seem to be in advertent. That said, how did it happen? Our reporting is that in the final days of packing up, both the West Wing the White House office and the residence office that these classified documents were likely at the vice president's residence, and they did not go through the same rigorous checking that was happening over the White House. And so, they got packed up with personal things that were coming from the residence. [12:10:00]

KING: And again, to that point, what you just said, listen, this is the former vice president United States, this is talking to Fox Business this month in January, on January 12, saying I was extra careful. Listen?


PENCE: I received a presidential daily brief at the vice president's residence. I'd rise early. I go to the safe where my military aide would place those classified materials. I pulled them out, review them. I'd receive a presentation to them. And then, frankly, more often than not, Larry, I would simply return them back to the file that I'd received them in. They went in commonly into what was called a burn bag that my military aide would gather, and then destroy those classified materials. Same goes in materials that I would receive at the White House.


KING: So again, in both interviews, he's speaking with quite with certainty, but not me, didn't happen. Not an unprotected place. We had a process and yet.

GANGEL: Right. So, there is no question things, the system is not working. And big picture, what I'm told by sources who deal with the archives and presidential material have said is, this is yet another example. The system is not working. They need to go back, review records management, review classified material management, were also told, so why did after saying no, we don't have anything repeatedly. They clearly went back, and former Vice President Pence wanted to triple check because of the Biden document.

KING: To his credit, most likely, most likely to his credit.

GANGEL: Absolutely, absolutely.

KING: Again. So, Evan, there was a Trump investigation already underway. The attorney general when the Biden disclosure happened, pretty much had no choice. He wouldn't say it this way. But then to the special counsel, for the Biden investigation. If the current president, the former president under investigation in a moment, we'll get into their significant differences in the investigation in the circumstances, including now I think Pence as well, what now at the justice department.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, now they are doing a review. This is something now that the FBI and the national security division of the Justice Department are doing a review, because one of the first things they have to do is examine the documents, see whether the information is still considered classified, who owns it, which agency it belongs to.

And to determine how they came to be where they're not supposed to be in an insecure or unsecure location, which is the former vice president's home. It is clear, however, that, you know, I think some of the answers are already out there. We know that the transition, let's just say at the end of the Trump administration was not the usual kind, right?

Donald Trump was pretending like he was never going to leave. And so that may be part of the reason here. And as Jamie points out, you know, I think it's pretty clear also that this was not a purposeful thing, you know, in comparison to the Trump case, who, you know, said these documents are mine, and I'm not returning them, the Vice President and his team clearly.

According to letters that we've obtained, that they've written to the national archives and to the White House, you know, describe a very, very cooperative and a very deliberative process, you know, they advise the national archives on and the following day on Thursday, the FBI comes to the home at 9:30 pm, and picks up these documents from the home in Carmel, Indiana.

So, there's a process that is being worked out now at the Justice Department to determine, you know, how much of a problem do we have here? And the next steps, we're told that at this point, you know, again, this is being handled by the Justice Department, by the people who do this kind of work, which is, you know, let's just say it happens from time to time.

KING: It happens from time to time. Hang on, just one sec. I just want to bring Carrie. I just want to bring Carrie Cordero, our legal analysts into the conversation. Again, we have learned new things all the time in all of these investigations. So, I want to reserve just for our viewers. This is a breaking news story. This is where we are today. But in both the Pence and the Biden discoveries, they were discovered and lawyers for the current president, and the former vice president immediately called the Justice Department and said, we found these documents.

Tell us what to do. Trump took the documents in over a months-long period of time, at one point certified, he'd returned them all. They found that they didn't, that's why this serves a search warrant. We'll get into the politics of that later. From a legal perspective, what does Merrick Garland and his team have to go through right now when it comes to Mike Pence?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, so the investigation of prosecuting classified documents really does turn on the intent behind it, the willfulness, all the various statutes that apply to actually prosecuting mishandling of classified information, turn on some kind of intent, some kind of willful behavior on the part of it, and that so far as we know seems to be what distinguishes certainly this situation of with former Vice President Pence, we're still learning more about president Biden situation but it sounds that way in part because of their disclosures.


Now what I think a really interesting decision point for Attorney General Garland is, is he going to need a special counsel on this case? And that gets into the politics of it, because remember, the trigger for him appointing the special counsel in former President Trump's case was former President Trump's announcement that he's a candidate.

Again, President Biden is a presumptive candidate for president. Where is Mike Pence and the political situation moving forward? And how will that impact whether or not Attorney General Garland needs to cabin off this investigation, just like the others?

KING: You had a point you were trying to---

GANGEL: Two didn't that we didn't make clear, the FBI did not go into the Pence home and search the home, which is different from Biden. They just came and picked up the paper. So as Evan said, there's a review going on. But it's not the kind of criminal investigation where they want to see where were the boxes kept? What were the surrounding things? So, they haven't taken that next step yet. And one other point---

KING: Forgive for interrupt. Hold the port hold the other point. That's what happened in the Biden, correct. They turned them over, they turned over what they found the first time, then there were conversations about what to do next. I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, they turned over additional documents. And then they still decided in the end, they needed to go and do it (crosstalk)

PEREZ: And that's partly because, frankly, let's just be honest, the Biden case was screwed up, right? The way the Biden team decided to disclose these things publicly, and to withhold certain information, certainly, I think, gave the Justice Department a little bit of concern about exactly what was happening. And they needed to figure out, you know, they need to make sure that nothing else was there. And that's why they took that additional step of doing a search, you know, which we've now - which we now have seen disclosed.

GANGEL: So, the other question that raises is, what about Former President Obama? What about former President Bush and the former vice presidents? Is there going to be - and they don't say this to be funny, some kind of amnesty where they go back. How many special counsels are we going to have?

KING: Or can you have some sort of a nonpartisan or bipartisan look at this giant issue. I have to stop the conversation at the moment. We need to go live now to Half Moon Bay, California for an update on one of the tragic shootings. We'll come back to this little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The victims and the suspect is that they may have been coworkers. The coroner's office is still working on identification of the victims and notifications of next of kin. As some of these victims are members of our migrant community. This represents a unique challenge when it comes to notifications and identifications of next of kin.

All of the evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence. The mountain mushroom farm, the first location is where the subject was employed. I'd like to hand it off to now our district attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

STEVE WAGSTAFFE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SAN MATEO COUNTY: Thank you, Sheriff. Good morning. I'm Steve Wagstaffe. I'm the district attorney and the case - my job now is to inform you where the case will go. The sheriff's office is submitting the case to us today. We will review it. The arraignment will not be this afternoon, as was first put out, it will be tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, here in this building, courtroom 4A, the custody courtroom.

The charges have not yet been determined, because until we review all of the information, we will make that decision later today or tomorrow morning. And again, the charges obviously involved the homicides involved as the sheriff just say, I want to make a specific reference to the fact that I have been briefed on the sheriff's office investigation of this case. And cases like this, we've never had one in this county of this many deaths at one scene or one time.

And so, it was a very hectic scene, the sheriff's office did a magnificent job investigating this case. I'm very proud to have the sheriff's office as our colleagues and sheriff corpus as my colleague. The work was done extraordinarily well. But again, in terms of precise detail, we're not going to be giving out a lot of precise detail on what was said.

This is a case that is at the beginning stage it has a long road to travel over the coming months and years. And to that extent, we don't want to try it out in the public eye. But instead, we will ultimately handle this case in one of the courtrooms in that building. So now I will turn it back for any questions that may exist for us.


LT. EAMONN ALLEN, SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Good morning. My name is Eamonn Allen. I'm the sheriff's PIO and I'll take any questions down


ALLEN: It was a legally purchased firearm note.


ALLEN: we're not releasing that information to that site. It was a semi-automatic handgun. As far as making model, we're not releasing that.


ALLEN: So, he did not actively surrender to us. He was located in his vehicle in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay substation. One of our deputies located the vehicle there and recognized it from the information we had from the scene. At that point, he started giving the subject commands, the subject was still seated in the vehicle. The subject exited the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident.


ALLEN: We did. We have the suspect information as well as suspect vehicle information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, is there understanding that he's been cooperating with the investigation and giving you information. Can you tell us anything about the motive for this lesson?

ALLEN: All the evidence we have right now points to a workplace violence incident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Workplace Violence. What was he upset about?

ALLEN: We're not releasing information this time.


ALLEN: So, we're still working on with the coroner's office on notifications of the victims' families. So, we're not releasing specific identifying information of the victims. But like the sheriff said, they were all adults, seven males, one female, and a mixture of Asian and Hispanic victims.


ALLEN: I'm sorry, I don't have that specific information at this time.


ALLEN: Again, we're not releasing that information at this time.


ALLEN: I'm sorry, I don't have that information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us if, you know, a little bit about his backwards, anything that would have given you any king of information that you would actually deals with. Is anything prior convictions or maybe the past?

ALLEN: So, as far as his criminal history, we're not released that information. I will say that there were no specific indicators that would have led us to believe that he was capable of something like this, and he was not known to us or to have any sort of, again, indicators that may have led us to believe that this was something he might have done.


ALLEN: We're not releasing any information is related to his status like that.


ALLEN: We'll not released that information at this time.


ALLEN: We don't have any information that they were witnesses to the incident. We know these farms, there's a mixture of folks who work there as well as reside there. And we do know that there were some children in the vicinity. But as far as being specific witnesses to it, we don't have that information.


ALLEN: I'm sorry, I don't have that information.


ALLEN: As far as what led to this specific incident, I don't have any information like that. I will say that the coast has experienced its share of challenges over the last few weeks, specifically as it relates to all the incredible weather we've had. There's been flooding. There's been people out of work. So, the coast has certainly had a share of challenges recently. And this just adds to that stress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been able to do a search for (Inaudible)? Have you found any other weapons?

ALLEN: I'm sorry, we're not releasing that information right now. So, I'll take it a couple more questions.


ALLEN: All right. Thank you very much. Sherriff, do you have anything to add?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we gain more developments, we will be uprising you the information. Again, I just wanted to give my condolences to the victims, the families, the co-workers and the coastal community who was suffering gravely and we'll be working together as a county to heal. Thank you.


KING: Law enforcement officials briefing. You see Redwood City, California, they're talking about a tragic shooting yesterday in Half Moon Bay. They're attributing it to some sort of a workplace violence issue. Eight killed the authority saying, seven males, one female, a mix of Asian and Hispanics and one of the law enforcement authorities saying identifying the victims complicated because in several cases here, they did not give an exact number. Or you're talking about migrant farmworkers there.

Let's bring in for perspective. The former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis and Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Commissioner, let me start with you. As you're listening to the results, or they say they believe this a workplace violence incident they have a 67-year-old man in custody, arraignment delay, not today will now be tomorrow because they want to review the evidence that they have to get the charges just right. What else jumped out at you from an investing investigative standpoint? ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well as these things unroll, it's such a tragic event for a small community like that, it sometimes takes a little more time to get everything organized. And in a state, that's presentable to the judge, so that the judge can make a valid decision on bail and what should happen to the suspect in the interim. Do they go to a psychiatric facility, are they going to go to a holding facility. There's a lot of important things that happen at this juncture.

But my heart goes out to the sheriff and to the people who responded to this. It's just been an unprecedented time of violence on the West Coast. And, you know, the work that needs to be done in establishing a motive, and also determining whether or not this is a copycat situation.

It was a fear of hours after 9/11 that there would be copycat attacks. There's a lot of similarities between this and what happened in Monterey Park. And I'm sure there'll be looking at all of these components, so that they can get the evidence before the judge that's necessary.

KING: And Captain Johnson, the same question to you in terms of what jumped out and I just sent out a few of the details. They believe the shooter did target his victims. Here they have a semi-automatic handgun that they say was legally purchased that they have. And the suspect was seen in his car parked right near a police substation. They said he did not surrender, but he was parked there. Authorities recognized the vehicle and then took in the apprehension. What are your big questions right now? What do you need answered?

RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: We answer is did you have any criminal history? I had there been anything going on at the workplace that he visited. And so, some of those things are questions we're going to have to know. And like the other presenter just talked about, there's a lot of layers that are here. Law enforcement wants to make sure they get it right. So, they can prosecute a case like this. And they don't want to put up misinformation.

And they also have to make sure there's other active players in situations like this. And so, kind of want to know the history of it. Yes, he purchased a gun. But I want to know that history to on how that came about and what time you buy it. What else did he buy along with it?

KING: I want to bring in our CNN correspondent Veronica Miracle who has been on the scene throughout this. Veronica, you just listened to the update here. They did share considerable information, but it was also clear from the sheriff's spokesman that there's a lot of investigative details. They just want to keep under wraps at the moment as they prepare the charges.

MIRACLE: That's exactly right, John, and it sounds like there are so many questions for the people who potentially are impacted by this. I actually just spoke with a man who came here to the sheriff's substation looking for his ex-wife. He said that he spoke to her. She called him around three o'clock. We know that first 9/11 call came in at around 2:20.

But that call from his ex-wife, he said he was frantic. She said, you know, pick up the kids. He said what's going on? She hung up and he hasn't heard from her since then. He's tried multiple times to call throughout the evening, no response. And he said he's very worried. And he went to the substation, and they didn't have any answers for him, either. They simply took his information.

And so, he is now left wondering and his kids are left wondering what has happened to his ex-wife. We heard in that update that seven men were killed, and one woman was killed. But they're not, you know, releasing the identities of those victims. And there are people here in this community who are wondering, are my family members impacted? And we're seeing that play out here this morning. John?

KING: Veronica Miracle, along the ground for us. Appreciate the live reporting. Want to thank Captain Johnson and Commissioner Davis as well. We'll continue to stay on top of that story. We'll come back, back to our big breaking news this hour. Classified documents discovered at the home, the Indiana home of the former Vice President Mike Pence.