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Five Dead, 4 Remain Hospitalized After Shooting At Louisville Bank; Louisville Police: Shooter Legally Purchased Gun Last Tuesday; Biden: Abortion Pill Ruling Is "Completely Out Of Bounds"; Distant Relatives To Welcome President Biden To Ireland. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 11, 2023 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: If you won't pass new state laws, give the city the authority to do more in the fight against gun violence. The congressman, the New Democrat representing that district, reciting the names of the members of his community now lost.

That Congressman Morgan McGarvey saying yes, thoughts and prayers are very helpful at this moment. But he also says Washington should change the law so that guns can't rip communities apart anymore. Part of that call to action calling out Kentucky Republicans for what he called, quote, building a sanctuary state for weapons.

We start our coverage right there on the scene in Louisville with CNN's Omar Jimenez. Omar, it was a remarkable presser, we learned a lot. We learned the shooter purchased the gun legally, an AR-15 one week ago. We learned it took 170 units of blood to treat the wounded at the local hospital.

We learned that this bank incident and another incident yesterday brings to 40. 100 days into the year, 40 members of the local community, a small modest sized city have died of gun violence. The thing that jumped out to me, though, was listening to Dr. Jason Smith, the Chief Medical Officer at the local hospital saying they, quote, barely had to change the schedule in the operating room because they are so used to dealing with gun violence.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, John, I mean, I think the sentiment from every public official we heard is that we're tired. We're not just tired of mass shootings like these but tired of the everyday shootings. And I think that represents more than just the sentiments of folks here, that represent sentiments of communities all across the United States, because of course, the mayor highlighted took the time to highlight that, of course, the five kills here was a tragedy.

Of course it was. But then minutes after this happened, another man was gunned down, not too far away from where all of this unfolded in the bank just behind me here. That they are now at 40 people killed across Louisville. That this isn't just about these acute incidents, it's about a culture that needs to change. And that was reflected in the frustrations that we heard. That, of course, one, there's a policy side of this. But then, of course, another side is the everyday reality of those that are affected by this have to deal with it. The mayor in particular, Craig Greenberg said, you may think this will never happen to you. I used to think that. The sad truth is no one in our country has that luxury anymore as he went on to say that he had survived a workplace shooting not too long ago. And here he was having to hear the news of a friend who died in a workplace shooting.

At the federal level, we also heard from Congressman Morgan McGarvey who says his frustration was that he doesn't feel they have the tools on the books to properly address someone who is potentially a danger to themselves or a danger to others in regards to firearms. Take a listen to a little bit of what he said.


REP. MORGAN MCGARVEY (D), KENTUCKY: I am a person of faith. I was raised in the church, we've raised our kids in the church. Please, if you are a person of faith, and you want to give us your thoughts and your prayers, we want them and we need them. Our community is hurting. But we need policies in place that will keep this from happening again.


JIMENEZ: And the mayor may have summed it up best saying this isn't about partisan politics, this is about life and death. And we are expecting to have a visual tomorrow where he wants members of the community to be able to express some of what they are feeling not just from this but also about how they are going to be moving forward from this.

We also expect body camera video to be released from the incident as the investigation moves forward into what may have caused this shooter to commit these actions. But, of course, John, the sentiment here and there's no mistaking it is we're not just tired, we're weary.

KING: Not just tired, weary. Omar Jimenez on the ground for us, and yet another American city going through this tragedy. Omar, grateful for that important reporting.

Let's continue the conversation. I want to bring in Ron Johnson, he's retired captain with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and our CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller. John Miller, to you first, let's listen to the police chief. One of the questions we asked yesterday as we were dealing with this in the moments after was, what was the weapon. The police chief says it was an AR-15 and she went on to say this.


CHIEF JACQUELYN GWINN-VILLAROEL, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have learned that the suspect in this incident was a current employee with Old National Bank. We have also learned that he purchased the weapon used in this tragic incident on yesterday on April the 4th. He purchased the weapon legally from one of the local dealerships here in Louisville. We have executed a search warrant on his residence and we have recovered items.


KING: We learned a lot, John, but there's more to come, the body cam video this afternoon. The officer in charge of the investigation said they believe they know the number of rounds fired. They believe they've searched the suspect's home now. That they have other weapons but didn't want to talk about that. Your big questions after what we just learned?


JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So the big questions are two things. One, he left a note at home I am told by sources that was addressed to his parents and a friend. I think our insight into what was going on in his head motive, what he was thinking is going to be informed somewhat by that note when we learn the contents.

The second thing is not just the body camera video that shows us what the police encountered, but what we may learn from the livestream he posted on Instagram, which not only includes the shooting he did before the police arrived, but anything he might have said in between that time when he stopped shooting and sat there literally waiting for the police. Probably thinking of suicide by cop in the confrontation that took his life and injured, you know, a police officer seriously.

KING: And Captain Johnson, yet again, we're having this conversation where every person you hear from tells an emotional personal story and every piece of the puzzle, the investigative puzzle gets put together, including this as John Miller just noted, trying to get into the mindset of the shooter. Listen to this from the 911 call. It is just beyond chilling.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 25 year old white males, Connor Sturgeon, 6'4". He's texted a friend, called a friend, left a voicemail saying he's going to kill everyone at the bank. Feeling suicidal.


KING: You hear that, Captain Johnson, and then you hear the local officials, whether it's the police chief, whether it's the mayor, whether it's the congressman, whether it's the chief medical officer, saying, you know, can we please, can we please have a conversation about how to prevent these moments?

CAPT. RON JOHNSON (RET.), MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: I think we have to have that conversation. We see a divide between rural and urban. And we have to partnership. I think our state governments have to give some authority and some leeway for the cities to do something different. And so our federal government. So we have to partnership. We have to get this right. I think as a nation, we're all weary of what's going on.

KING: Captain Ron Johnson, John Miller, I appreciate your insights. Gentlemen, will sadly continue this conversation in the days and weeks ahead as we learn more about Louisville and most likely have to deal with this again somewhere else across this great country.

With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Leigh Ann Caldwell at The Washington Post and USA Today's Francesca Chambers. So we have to, what I'll call blue dots in red states dealing with this. You have Nashville, Tennessee. You have Frankfort, Louisville, excuse me, Kentucky.

The mayor of Louisville urging Frankfort which has a Democratic governor but a Republican legislature. If you won't pass state laws, statewide laws, give us autonomy, change the state law, so that cities, local communities -- and he was quite clear about it, he understands his state. He says they may view this differently in Paducah than they do here in Louisville, but I want the tools to do something, give them to me.

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, there's politicians and people in power in this country who want to do something about it. And then there's politicians and people in power in this country who don't want to do anything about it. And that is the situation that we're in and that we've been in for a very, very long time.

It's interesting now that there are local calls to do something knowing that Congress has failed over and over again, to make any sort of big, meaningful changes to gun legislation. Of course, they passed something a year ago. And now every time one of this happens, what members of Congress say is, well, we passed this last year, that was a big lift. That's probably all we're going to get right now.

And so it is interesting that in the south, you have Nashville and Louisville, who are the center of this gun rights movement or gun control movement right now.

KING: And they're also the center of other priorities of Republicans, if you will, in legislatures, whether it's talking about schools, whether it's talking about transgender athletes, whether it's trying to pass new state abortion restrictions. And Congressman McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, he's a freshman.

That district was represented for a long time by John Yarmuth, who left the district. So you have a freshman Democrat in the United States Congress working here in Washington who served for years in the legislature. He's trying to get the adults to sit down to the table and he's trying to shake Republicans asking them how about your priorities here.


MCGARVEY: That is not a political issue. But it becomes one, when Kentucky Republicans would rather ban books and pronouns and then make Kentucky a sanctuary state for weapons. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We've had this conversation too many times. We talked about in the show meeting that we're unfortunately prepared for days like this, and we sort of know how to put the shows together and get the law enforcement people and the like. Will -- that this is happening as again, it blew communities, democratic communities, the urban communities in Republican states. Is it possible that finally you get a conversation, not here dictate outcomes, just get adults in room to talk things through?


FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: And he also had some powerful words about how we need to as a country turn grief into action here and Congress is currently in recess. So perhaps when they come back, this is an issue that they'll start taking a look at. You mentioned that he's a freshman, he could certainly help to lead the charge on that.

But you also heard the White House saying yesterday that when it comes to President Biden, that he has acted through executive order, and really putting the onus on Republicans in Congress if anything is going to get done here. And that certainly does sound like a broken record at a certain point, as you were saying, John, because we've seen time and time again, when these things happen the President saying that, but that's where the White House says that they just are at this point.

KING: And so, I guess the question is, this always falls into Democrat, Republican. It often falls into, let's wait a week, something else will come up and this will fade from public discussion and reporters or local people will stop, you know, stop asking questions about this.

What I found striking was listening to, you know, the guy who runs the staff, the people who have to deal with this in the operating room, in the emergency room, in the triage rooms. This is Jason Smith, the Chief Medical Officer of the University of Louisville Health Center saying, if you won't listen to the politicians, maybe you should listen to me.


DR. JASON SMITH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIV. OF LOUISVILLE HEALTH: For 15 years, I've cared for victims of violence and gunshot wounds. And people say I'm tired, but I'll be answered. It's more than tired. I'm weary. There's only so many times you can walk into a room and tell someone they're not coming home tomorrow. And it just breaks your heart. When you hear someone screaming mommy or daddy, it just becomes too hard day in and day out to be able to do that.


KING: Louisville, as you all know, is a great American city. It's a fun community. You got Louisville Slugger you got the Muhammad Ali Museum, it's this fantastic place. You listen to the chief of the hospital here what just -- it just stunned me. He said, we barely had to adjust our operating room schedule because they have built a system to be prepared for gun violence.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt, and he went on to say do something. Doing nothing is not working. And so that is where the wisdom of this comes from, not from politicians perhaps on either side who are entrenched in their inability to get beyond the lobby, the control from a gun manufacturers, bullet manufacturers, et cetera. So that wisdom comes from the doctor there.

But you mentioned Louisville Slugger, the bank is steps away from the Louisville Slugger Museum. I've been there, many of us have been there. It's steps away from where baseball is played. But look, one individual shooting, as we know now from covering Sandy Hook, and so many others is not going to make a difference. But is there a collective movement? Is there a collective time happening with the younger voters?

And I'm struck by -- for the second time in a week, the governor of Tennessee, the governor of Kentucky both had someone very dear to them were killed in mass shootings and slain. That shows you how much this is touching average Americans. Will that matter in the end? We'll see. But I think we cannot normalize this and we must keep being outraged by this.

KING: Right. The outrage part -- the -- I don't know the right word for this. And this, as you say, must not normalize this. Unfortunately, this is normal to too many Americans not in the sense that they don't want things done, but just in their day to day lives.

Before we go, and we'll continue the conversation in the days ahead, this from a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey. 21 percent of Americans had been personally threatened with a gun. 90 percent had a family member killed by a gun. 17 percent of Americans say they have witnessed the shooting.

If you can't look at those numbers and decide again, don't prejudge the outcomes, why don't we all get in the room and have a conversation? I don't know what else you can say there.

When we come back, for the first time, President Biden weighs in on a very important Texas judge's ruling in a big abortion medication case. That's next.



KING: For the first time today, President Biden talking about a Texas judge as far reaching abortion pill ruling. Moments -- the President speaking to reporters moments before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Northern Ireland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And on the abortion pill ruling, wat are your thoughts?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My thoughts are it's completely out of bounds what the judge did.


KING: That federal judge's decision to block the FDA's approval of an abortion pill is causing several Democratic states now to stock up on that medication. The California Governor Gavin Newsom says California has obtained 2 million pills of one type of abortion medication. Massachusetts has a 15,000 dose supply enough, the governor says for at least a year. Washington State even before the decision decided to amass a three-year supply of another type of pill.

Our great reporters are back at the table with us. So now we see, the Justice Department has asked for a stay. We will see if a judge delays. Otherwise, as a Friday, if the ruling stays in place, it becomes illegal to sell this medication on the shelf. So you see these -- are we going to go through another blue state red state? Blue state governors say I'm going to amass and I'm going to use state authority to distribute these pills?

CALDWELL: Well, it looks that way, but the problem with the case in Texas is that he -- his ruling was -- his decision was a national ruling. So it's very interesting on how this is going to work out and play out. And what's also interesting politically speaking is Republicans have been saying ever since Dobbs decision came out last year that this is a state issue. So it is up to the states.

But what's happening with this Texas decision, he made a nationwide ruling, so it has really put Republicans in a difficult position just on that point alone on, is this a state's issue or is this a national issue. And that is why you've heard hardly anything, basically nothing from Republicans since this case was decided.

KING: Right. Republicans are quiet, many of them wondering where -- they're getting what they wanted. They wanted the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, they got it. They wanted the state's rights to do this. They wanted this debate but now they're activists going into court.

You say the Republicans are mostly silent, but Democrats like Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan saying maybe the Republicans should listen to the people.



GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: You cannot ignore the will of the people. We saw what happened here in Michigan last fall. We saw what happened in Wisconsin last week. We saw what happened in Kansas last summer. The people of this country expect these fundamental rights to to be sacrosanct, to be available to future generations of Americans.


KING: Giant policy questions before I says this case makes its way through the courts. But the Democrats see huge political -- potential political gain here.

ZELENY: Without a doubt. And, I mean, it happened last fall in the midterm elections. It's chiefly one of the reasons that there was not a blowout in the House of Representatives. And we've seen it in recent elections in Wisconsin, obviously, the prime example.

The question here for Republicans, is there going to be a split inside the GOP that is going to finally speak up? There has been a silence, but inside the Republican Party. Congresswoman Nancy Mace from South Carolina spoke up about it this week. But that silent split has long been there.

Vice President Mike Pence is one of the few 2024 potential Republican candidates who came out and praised the judge's ruling. So he is taking the side and there is some room on the right without a doubt, there are many pro-life organizations that have been praying and pushing for this for a long time. But that is not where the majority of the country is.

So politically speaking, electorally speaking, there's one thing that you can say about Donald Trump's instincts on things like this, is to be absolutely silent. When is the last time he's been silent on an issue like this? He knows abortion, as he said, is a loser for Republicans.

KING: Yes, and yet it's a Trump appointed judge. And they shopped this case. They went to this court on purpose. The people pushing this case, went to a Trump appointed judge. Ron DeSantis has also been silent on this ruling, but he is committed to signing new Florida state law that would move the restrictions back to six weeks.

So the Republican candidates are -- we're watching this legal debate, in this political debate. It also overlaps with the early nominating contests where most of them are making the choice play to the right, play to the base.

CHAMBERS: And you heard the chair of the Republican National Committee saying that this is something that essentially she sees Republicans as not being able to run away from in the election, that they have to develop some sort of a message on this now, whether it's actually a messaging issue, or as you were saying, it's that the country just doesn't agree with them, the majority of the country, on this particular issue, that's perhaps another subject.

But it is clear that Republicans, this is going to be an issue for them in the election, and that these candidates have to develop some sort of a position on it.

KING: All right. To -- just -- it's remarkable the timing here. It's coincidence, but you have the abortion issue, the gun issue front and center, as the calendar takes us into the early part of the 2024 cycle. We will see both legally and politically how it plays up. Coming up for us, you saw the President about to board Air Force One and that's part homecoming, part diplomacy. President Biden is on his way, whose ancestral homeland and his distant relatives can't wait to say hello.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Girls, how does it feel to be related to a president?



E. BLEWITT: Because he's president.




KING: President Biden just hours away from basking in the luck of the Irish. His four-day trip to Ireland and to Northern Ireland is part homecoming and part politics. The President will trace his roots and he will meet relatives, the Finnegans of County Louth and the Blewitts of County Mayo. Biden self-proclaimed favorite distant cousin says the community is ready.


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Biden's ancestors, the Blewitts and the Finnegans immigrated from counties, Mayo and Louth.

(on-camera): Your dad and Joe Biden are third cousins?


O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): But you seem to be the favorite cousin.

LAURITA BLEWITT: I don't know why. It was -- well, maybe it's just my personality.


KING: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us live from the first stop Belfast, Northern Ireland. Donie, it's a big deal. There's some work to be done, but mostly for the President, this is a chance to come home as he would say.

O'SULLIVAN: That's right, John. Yes, he's going to first stop here in Belfast on the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. But then tomorrow, moves south to really what is a bit of a homecoming. You know, JFK came here 60 years ago in search of his Irish roots and really started a tradition of American presidents coming back to find their ancestral homes. Reagan, Obama, and now of course, Biden.

As you saw there, we have been speaking to some of Biden's not so distant cousins, and we caught up with two of his very youngest cousins here. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): And have you met him before?

LAUREN AND EMILY BLEWITT: Yes, we've met twice. Yes.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): What did he say to you?

LAUREN BLEWITT: He's just -- he was just eating our chips, and when fancy meals came out, he just wanted the chips and chicken nuggets.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): He was stealing your chicken nuggets?



O'SULLIVAN: So, as you can see there, look, I mean, even, you know, a lot of his family here in Ireland actually traveled out this year to the White House, to the -- for the St. Patrick's Day, ceremony occasion there. So there is a genuine kind of connection and bond there. Even those two young girls have met the President when he was then-vice president in the past. So a lot of excitement here. He's going to be delivering a big speech on Friday night at his ancestral home on the west coast of Ireland. So lots to look forward to this week.

KING: See if you can kick him up the coast a bit to County Galway in Connemara. That's where the kings come from, my friend. Enjoy your visit. Enjoy being home, my good friend.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, John.

KING: Thanks for your time in INSIDE POLITICS today. We'll see you tomorrow.

Abby Phillip picks up our coverage right now.