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New Day

Uvalde Teacher Recounts Chilling Scene, Act Like You're Asleep; Witnesses Who Dealt With Proud Boys to Testify on Thursday; Officers Watch Pleading Man Drown, I'm Not Jumping in After You. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 07, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Remember, the killers in Buffalo and Uvalde were 18. They used semiautomatic AR-15 style weapons. This would not though be a ban on sales to those under 21 of those style of weapons, which the president has called for, but an adjustment. We'll have details here in just a moment.

Since Friday, gun violence killed more than a dozen people and injured dozens more in at least 13 mass shootings in the United States and this morning, new insight in the last month's school shooting in Uvalde from a teacher who stared down the gunman.


ARNULFO REYES, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER: The kids started asking out loud, Mr. Reyes, what is going on, and I said, I don't know what's going on. But let's go ahead and get under the table, get under the table and act like you're asleep.

As they were doing that, and I was gathering them under the table and told them to act like they were going to sleep, is about the time when I turned around and saw him standing there.


KEILAR: For more, I want to bring in Rosa Flores who is live in Uvalde, Texas. What a horrifying glimpse into that classroom on that day, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, these details are chilling. Let me take you through these details. Now, the man that you just saw and heard, his name is Arnulfo Reyes. He is a teacher at Robb Elementary School, and he spoke to ABC News, and he says that on that ill-fated day, he was in his classroom with his 11 students.

They were all watching a movie when gunshots rang out. And his students, of course, turned to his teacher and asked him what was going on. He says that he told the students to go under the table and pretend that they were sleeping.

That's when he says that he turned around and saw the gunman. He saw the gunman right there and that gunman opened fire. Reyes says that he was shot multiple times. The gunman hit his arm, his lungs and also his back.

This teacher says at that point he couldn't move but he did see that the gunman then turned the weapon on his students. Take a listen.


REYES: One of the student from the next door classroom was saying, officer, we're in here. We're in here. But they had already left. And then he got up from -- behind my desk and walked over there, and he shot over there again.


FLORES: Now, process this with me for just a second. As I said, Mr. Reyes says that there's 11 students in this classroom when the gunman opens fire. He says that none of his students survived. All of those children died, he says.

Reyes goes on to say that for 77 minutes he played dead in this classroom surrounded by his students, and, Brianna, we've been covering this from the get-go, there's so many questions about this investigation, we know that officers were there and, as you describe, he heard the officers just outside the classroom. He said that he heard the students asking for help.

And, of course we know now that those officers did not go in there and stop the threat. What stopped the threat in this case was a federal law enforcement officer who eventually went into that classroom, shot and killed the shooter. Brianna?

KEILAR: I don't think I can process that, Rosa. I imagine you can't either, as you try to understand what happened there. Rosa Flores, thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, witnesses who interacted with the far- right Proud Boys on the day of the Capitol attack are among those scheduled to testify at the January 6th committee's first public hearing, which is Thursday night. This is extra significant now that the Justice Department has charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in the Capitol attack. This just happened, escalating the criminal case against members of the Proud Boys.

CNN's Senior National Correspondent Sara Sidner joins us now. And, Sara, you have done unique and groundbreaking reporting on the Proud Boys, including conversations after the January 6th attack with Enrique Tarrio, the leader who wasn't there on that day.


BERMAN: But what did he tell you as part of these discussions into the subject of planning come up?

SIDNER: We should talk about a little bit about the new indictment because it does bring some fresh detail. Because, as you mentioned, Enrique Tarrio, who was then the chairman of the Proud Boys national organization wasn't even in Washington, D.C. on January 6th.


But the government says he was involved in the planning and then responded afterwards as well with glee and joy as to what was happening inside the Capitol, those pictures that we all saw of people going in, breaking in and terrifying members of Congress.

In the latest indictment, we noticed some things that were different. Because in the very beginning, several members of the Proud Boys were charged, he was not. But this new indictment talks about encrypted messages that were being sent that were created in an encrypted group that was created by Enrique Tarrio, according to the indictment, and that was shared with dozens eventually of Proud Boys.

But a few of the core group that are listed in this indictment were aware of what the government says were planning tactics, tactical planning, getting things like armor, things like hotel rooms, planning on where they were going to be, where they were going to meet.

And so it's really interesting to read through some of the conversation that was going on there between Enrique Tarrio and some of the members and his response to all of that happened. He talked in the communications, he was talking with a person that was talking about a plan to occupy several buildings, including the House and Senate, and that they wanted to flood it with as many people as possible, so a lot of details here that explained why these charges have just come up now.

I do want to talk to you about what happened in february. February 24th, after the charges against some of his Proud Boys were already put in place, but he had not been charged, we were able to sit down with him. I have talked to Enrique Tarrio for many, many years, over the years, and he agreed to sit down with me. And I asked him about the people who had been charged and whether he condemned them. Let's listen.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, PROUD BOYS LEADER: So, was it a mistake to even go into the Capitol?

SIDNER: Was it?


SIDNER: Do you condemn those who went in, vandalized, threatened police officers, broke windows, do you condemn those people? Can you say that right now?

TARRIO: Okay. I can't say that because I think condemn is a very strong word and I think it's a little bit too strong.

SIDNER: What happened was really violent and very strong, right?

TARRIO: I'm only responsible -- I guess to speak, I'm only responsible for what the Proud Boys did, right? And you listed the whole thing. I would like to go through that. There's eight members of the Proud Boys that decided to go in. I think that was -- I think that was a mistake to go in, but they're painting it like as like we coordinated to go into the Capitol previously and that's untrue.


SIDNER: So, let's just parse what he said. He says there, again, this is before he was indicted, he says there, we didn't plan this. This was not coordinated. And he didn't go all the way to condemn those who went in, but he says, it was wrong. That is a very different story than you are getting from the details that are inside this indictment in these encrypted messages going back and forth between him and people who were there, like his very close buddy, Joe Biggs.

BERMAN: Talk to me about Joe Biggs, because you also spoke to him.

SIDNER: I did very briefly, very different scenario. Once the indictments came down, we decided to go and try to speak to some of the people who were charged with the most aggressive charges, the Proud Boys being some and the Oath Keepers as well.

We have an exchange here between me and Joe Biggs. We went to his home to see if he would -- to speak to us. We tried calling him. He did not respond. So, we went directly to his home. And in this exchange, you will hear him deny some of the things. Let's listen to that.




SIDNER (voice over): This guy is one of the most well-known, a far- right personality known for spouting extremist views, long before January 6th.

BIGGS: Hey. What's going on, everybody? This is Joe Biggs.

SIDNER: 37-year-old Joseph Biggs is an Army veteran, he is also a leader in the far-right, violence prone Proud Boys.

His violent rhetoric got him banned on social media sites. On January 6th in Washington, D.C., it wasn't just rhetoric. Prosecutors say he did aid, abet, counsel, command, induce or procure others to unlawfully enter the U.S. Capitol by means of destruction of federal property.

This is Biggs as he helps lead the Proud Boys to the Capitol steps. Once there, one of his Proud Boys, this guy, broke into the Capitol. According to court documents, 20 seconds later, Biggs is seen inside the building.

Biggs is charged for an alleged commanding role in the insurrection. A judge ordered he could go home on house arrest. We visited him there.

Mr. Biggs, I'm Sara with CNN.


Look, all we want to ask you is whether you were in the Capitol on January 6th and what you were doing there.

I'm sorry?

BIGGS: I'm calling the police.

SIDNER: You're calling the police, you said? Are you an insurrectionist?

BIGGS: I wasn't.


SIDNER (on camera): He later goes on to threaten me, curse at me and say he was going to call the police. At that point in time we left. But you see video of him there on January 6th, front and center, sort of walking with a whole bunch of guys, some of them Proud Boys, some of them not, as they are going around the Capitol.

And in this indictment it is those encrypted messages that seem to be the key to why all of these people are charged with seditious conspiracy, which is the most difficult, most largest charge that we've seen brought, the most serious charge that we've seen brought against anybody, including those in the Oath Keepers. They are the only two groups that have -- let me just tell you, how did this happen, why is this happening now? It appears that one of the Proud Boys cooperated and so the government was able to get more information.

BERMAN: We have a lot more to learn about how they got from the previous charges to these charges as more information, no doubt, that will come out. But it's fascinating to hear your conversation with him in that moment in time.

Sara Sidner, terrific reporting, thank you so much. Brianna?

KEILAR: We have new CNN reporting this morning on a military investigation into whether a U.S. service member carried out an insider attack against a base in Northern Syria. Four Americans were injured in this attack back in April.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live for us at the Pentagon. Barbara, what can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Brianna. We've been tracking this since it happened in April, and now, the U.S. military is confirming it's investigating a military member for the possibility of whether that person deliberately, in the middle of the night, set off two rounds of explosives at a U.S. military base in Northeastern Syria. For the first time now, U.S. military investigators providing CNN with a statement and let me just read it in part. It does say, and I quote, a possible suspect, a U.S. service member, has been identified. At this point, these are just allegations. All suspects are presumed to be innocent until and unless convicted in a court of law.

So, this whole incident began on the night of April 7th at a place called Green Village in Northeastern Syria. At that time, there were two explosions. The military put out a statement saying they believed they had taken fire from forces outside the base, a rocket or a mortar, and it does happen in that region of Northeastern Syria.

But then a week later, they corrected themselves in a new statement, and it says, the explosions in Green Village were not the result of indirect fire but rather the deliberate placement of explosive charges.

What we know is, as you said, four military members suffering traumatic brain injury. The explosions, we are told, were not insignificant, larger than a hand grenade, if you will. So, now, we know that a military member is being investigated, no charges filed, no one is in custody. And right now, the really open question, of course, what was the motivation. Why would some service member do this to their fellow colleagues? Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes, a huge question. Barbara Starr live for us at the Pentagon, thank you.

And joining us now to talk about this is CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. I remember -- I think we both remember when this happened, and it seemed like it was an attack from outside and then it seems they learned, no, this came from within potentially their ranks. What do you think about this development?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, it's less uncommon than we might think. I mean, just think about Fort Hood, Texas, where Major Nidal Husan, an Army psychologist, killed 13 people. There was another attack at Fort Hood, Texas, by Specialist Lopez in 2014 that killed three people. There was an attack by the U.S. military contractor not far from where we're sitting in the Navy yard several years ago, which killed 13 people. And so this happens.

I mean, look, the 2 million members of the Armed Services, active duty, reserves, National Guard, there are hundreds of thousands of contractors, they suffer the same issues the normal population suffers, except they're under even more stress. They're in a war zone.

But I do think this is quite unusual. When we think of insider threats, usually in places like Afghanistan or Iraq, usually that's an Iraqi who comes in, carries out some kind of attack or an Afghan, we saw a lot of that in Afghanistan. You remember --

KEILAR: From a partner security force.

BERGEN: From a partner security force. So, like recalling General Scott Miller, the commanding general in Afghanistan, pulled his own weapon in 2018 because there was an insider attack that actually wounded an American brigadier general.


So -- but, yes, this is -- I mean, it's unusual particularly in a war zone. And what was interesting about this also is this person appears to have wanted to get away with it. I mean, often when these attacks happen, Major Nidal Husan, he saw himself as a jihadist hero, he went in, he killed 13 people, unfortunately, at Fort Hood, was wounded himself in the attack. I mean, he didn't try to disguise it. Here, this seems like a surreptitious attack, motive is unclear.

KEILAR: So, that is question. Does that tell you anything about the motive of whether it may or may not be a political statement, because we really don't know much about that at this point?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, that's an interesting question, yes. I think if it was political, you would -- you would make a statement yourself. This seems like maybe a private vendetta. I mean, we don't know. But it doesn't seem like an attack where we've seen a jihadist carry out an attack and sort of announced the fact that he is carrying out the attack. We saw that in Pensacola, Florida, with an insider attack with a Saudi military officer in 2019 who killed three U.S. sailors. So, it doesn't look like it's political in that sense.

KEILAR: Well, we'll see how this plays out in the disciplinary process and then hopefully we'll be learning more details there. Peter, thank you as always for your insights.

BERGEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, it is Election Day and CNN's Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten watching a number of races across the country today, including the most populous state, California. Some really important races there, Harry.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. You know, I don't oftentimes go and then do district attorney races, but this one has got me going. So, Chesa Boudin, who is the incumbent D.A., is facing a recall. It's a simple yes or no on whether to recall thanks to a petition drive. A lot of Republicans got involved in that. And more than that, this, to me, is a statement about where the country might be going.

He's one of a number of progressives who have been targeted in recalls. There are a lot of progressive D.A.s that got elected over the last few years. I think a lot of folks are going to be looking to this race to say, okay, the liberal city of San Francisco, can a progressive D.A. survive there. We'll have to wait and see and find out.

BERMAN: Los Angeles mayor's race.

ENTEN: You know, saying in the Golden State, this one is another interesting race. So, look, it's a nonpartisan primary. There are no party registrations on the ballot. So, essentially, what you have here is a three-way, the top candidates, Karen Bass, Rick Caruso, Kevin de Leon, Bass running as a progressive, Caruso running very hard on a law and order campaign.

But here's the thing, because we have multiple candidate fields, you need at least 50 percent of the vote plus one, otherwise there is a runoff in November. So, even if one candidate gets -- like, say, leads tonight with 40 percent of the vote, if they don't get to 50 percent plus one, this election will continue to go on.

BERMAN: It does seem that here, crime like in San Francisco, is a major issue in this election.

ENTEN: Yes, that's exactly right. Rick Caruso basically came out of nowhere running on this law and order campaign. And this is something we saw in New York last year as well, right, with Eric Adams. We saw Byron Brown up in Buffalo, able to survive an attempt to knock him off. And so this is one of those things. Crime is something even that if it's not due to a national issue, it is a huge urban issue.

BERMAN: There is a peculiar thing on the ballot in South Dakota.

ENTEN: I will admit I've done a lot of political segments with you over the last four-plus years, I think it is, and I don't think we've gone to South Dakota frequently, not that I don't love the state of South Dakota, but, look, Amendment C, it would make some ballot measures get 60 percent of the vote to pass instead of 50 percent plus one.

And you might be saying, why would they do that? Well, Republicans want to get it on the ballot ahead of a Medicaid expansion ballot measure in November. So, it would need to get 60 percent instead of 50 percent plus one. Obviously, a lot of Republicans don't want that ballot measure to pass.

BERMAN: This would make this harder to pass.

While we're up in South Dakota, let's go next door.

ENTEN: We're going to go to the great state of Montana. We've gone to Montana a few times, more so than South Dakota. The Montana first congressional district GOP primary, why are we going there, because of this guy, Ryan Zinke. Donald Trump backs his former interior secretary, Zinke. Remember, Zinke was a member of the Trump administration and a fun little nugget after redistricting, Montana went from one to two congressional districts.

BERMAN: So, that's a change. This is new for them because they have a new district, a shiny new district.

ENTEN: A shiny new district.

BERMAN: Where are we in the primary calendar at this point?

ENTEN: You know, the more I go, it just seems like life is passing me by more and more quickly. After today, 40 percent of states will have held primaries. It feels like we haven't been in the primary season that long but yet 40 percent will have voted. And guess what, John, we're just five months until the general election in November, but we're going to have a lot of fun doing it.

BERMAN: The countdown is on.

ENTEN: The countdown is on. The heat is on.

BERMAN: Harry Enten, thank you very much for that.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

BERMAN: So, a critical development in Pennsylvania's high-stakes Senate race, the health of Democrat John Fetterman under scrutiny.


KEILAR: Plus, a former Obama White House adviser reacts to the reported dysfunction inside the Biden White House as the president grows more frustrated over his poll numbers.

And a drowning man begging to be saved, what body cam video appears to show officers doing while it happened.


KEILAR: New this morning, I am not jumping in, that from some police officers in Tempe, Arizona, who are captured on body cam video watching a man in the water begging for help before he ultimately drowned. And now investigators are reviewing the officers' conduct and how they responded to the incident.

CNN's Natasha Chen has more on this developing story.


Natasha, tell us about this and how the man ended up in the water in the first place.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Brianna, three officers are now on non-disciplinary paid leave pending this investigation. They initially responded to a call just after 5:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 28th initially about an alleged fight between this 34-year-old man Sean Bickings and his companion. These officers get there and the two people say there's no physical violence at all.

So, the city says, under standard procedure, the officers ran their two names for a background check. And as they're running their names, they're making small talk with them. You can see that in the video. And they're talking to Bickings as they're by this railing, by this reservoir and a pedestrian bridge. The video we're about to show you from the body camera footage shows that Bickings actually climbed that railing and got in the water.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: what are you doing, my friend? Huh?

What are you doing? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going for a swim. I'm free to go, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't swim in the lake, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm free to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not allowed to swim in the lake.


CHEN: You can see him swimming away there and you can hear the officers saying he's not allowed to swim in there, but he's also not under arrest. They can't detain him. And the city did not show the rest of this footage, saying that the actual drowning itself is very sensitive in nature but they did give us a transcript of what happened next. Let's put that on the screen, because the officer at one point says to Bickings, as he's in distress, what's your plan now? Bickings says, I'm going to drown, I'm going to drown. The officer says no, you're not.

One of the officers then tells him to try to get to a nearby pylon to hang on. Bickings continues to say, I'm drowning, I can't, and that officer responds, I'm not jumping in after you. At that point fire and rescue -- the fire department, the water and rescue team is called. I asked the city what happened after that point, how long it took for folks to get there and help out, because it took several hours to finally find Bickings.

The Tempe Officers Association also gave us a statement which I will read here saying, that these officers received in training in water rescues, nor do they have equipment to help people and attempting such a high risk rescue could result in the death of the person in the water and the officer who could be pulled down by a struggling adult.

So, at this point, the city of Tempe is reviewing its policies around water incidents like this, what type of equipment the officers need and what type of equipment is needed around bodies of water. And nearby Scottsdale Police is helping with an internal review of the training and policies in place at the point that this happened.

Meanwhile, the city of Tempe is doing its death investigation after which the state, Arizona Department of Public Safety, will review that. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. Natasha Chen live for us, thank you so much.

CHEN: Thanks.

KEILAR: Frustration within the west wing as the White House struggles to get its message out. We're joined by former President Obama's communication director on what he thinks need to change.

BERMAN: Plus, could four-day workweeks be the thing of the future? The world's biggest trial run under way.