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Gunman Kills 3 in Mall Food Court Attack, Witness Kills Shooter; Uvalde Report Reveals 'Systemic Failures' in Police Response; Criminal Contempt Trial Begins Today for Steve Bannon; Zelenskyy Suspends 2 Officials, Accusing Staff of Working with Russia; Gas Prices Fall for 34 Straight Days. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 18, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, July 18. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here, fresh off a presidential trip to Saudi Arabia.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: You know, there's nowhere I would ever be than after a 12-hour flight, and another one-hour flight here from Washington.
BERMAN: But who's counting?
COLLINS: You know what? Not me. I'm thrilled to be here. I really am.
BERMAN: It's great to have you here.
We are waking up to a developing story from overnight. A mass shooting at a shopping mall south of Indianapolis. A gunman opened fire in a food court in Greenwood, Indiana. Three people were killed, two others injured. Among the wounded, a 12-year-old girl.
Police say a good Samaritan shot and killed the gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JAMES ISON, GREENWOOD POLICE: The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop this shooter almost as soon as he began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 352 mass shootings this year.
Greenwood, Indiana, now joins dozens of other communities that are still reeling from the aftermath of one. That includes Uvalde, Texas, where the first comprehensive report evaluating the response by law enforcement shows there were nearly 400 officers on the scene that day, as the report details the systemic failures in their response.
CNN has also obtained new body camera footage, and we'll have much more on that in a moment.
But first, let's bring in CNN's Athena Jones. Athena, thank you so much for being here with us this morning. And what can you tell us about what happened in Indiana, because people are waking up thinking news of another shooting.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yet another mass shooting in a string of mass shootings. You just saw there the Greenwood police chief, James Ison. He says, "This has shaken us to our core."
Three people killed in this mall -- in this shooting inside a mall parking lot. This happened at about 6 p.m. in Greenwood, a suburb of Indianapolis.
And the gunman was armed with a long gun rifle with several magazines of ammunition.
And as you said, the police are crediting what they're calling a good Samaritan with saving the day here. A 22-year-old citizen from a neighboring county, who was lawfully carrying a gun, saw the shooting unfolding and shot the shooter.
Two people were injured and being treated in an area hospital. And police are still investigating this. So they don't know the motive here, but, again, it's another mass shooting. We have had so many just in the last few months.
In this case, the good guy with a gun, which was become a hero and a symbol of the gun rights movement, did save the day. Of course, we know that doesn't always happen.
COLLINS: No, it doesn't. It sounds like this could have been a lot worse than what it was.
BERMAN: Obviously, more details coming out of this. Athena, keep us posted as we learn more. Thank you very much.
Let's go to Uvalde now, where this new report by Texas lawmakers investigating the school massacre there cites multiple failures, failures all around and a, quote, "lackadaisical approach" by law enforcement.
Dramatic new body cam video gives a close-up view of the action and inaction of officers on the scene at Robb Elementary school.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live in Uvalde this morning. Shimon, there are two things going on here. One, there is this report that was released, and then separate from that, the mayor providing this body- cam footage, a look we just haven't seen before of what went on inside the school.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And the mayor, Don McLaughlin of Uvalde, providing it to CNN first. We have been asking for this video. Everyone has been asking for this video. And there was concern the district attorney did not want this video out there. She did not want this released. But the mayor saying this needed to come out because of transparency.
And what this video captures is really the decision-making. What was going on in the minds of these officers? A lot of it inaccurate, wrong information, not knowing how urgent the situation was.
And so we see officers making terrible decisions, not understanding exactly what they were dealing with. And we should warn our viewers that some of the images they are about to see they may find disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Shots fired. Get inside. Go. Go. Go.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): New body cam video released by the Uvalde mayor shows the frantic first moments police arrived on scene at Robb Elementary. This video taken by Uvalde Police Sergeant Daniel Coronado as he made his way inside the building, but within moments, more gunshots.
DANIEL CORONADO, UVALDE POLICE SERGEANT: Shots fired inside the building, Uvalde.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which building?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in here. It's in here. Can't break. Can we break?
CORONADO: Careful, guys. Shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't break in here. Can somebody break?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the classroom right here on the right.
CORONADO: Take cover, guys.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): After taking cover outside, Sergeant Coronado gives his first update on this situation to responding officers.
CORONADO: OK, guys. He's on -- inside this building. We have him contained. He's going to be on the building on the west side of the property. Careful with the windows facing east, right there.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Minutes later Coronado tells dispatch what he believes is happening, that the gunman is in one of the school's offices, not a classroom.
CORONADO: Male subject is in the school on the west side of the building. He's contained. We've got multiple officers inside the building at this time. We believe he's barricaded in one of the -- one of the offices. Still shooting. PROKUPECZ (voice-over): But as the minutes continue to tick by, the
urgency first seen by the initial response fades away. Instead, Uvalde police officers are seen hunkering down, waiting for more backup.
Critical moments pass by at a time children were still alive in the classroom. At one point, you can hear Sergeant Coronado asking for permission to open a door into the hallway where armed officers are already inside.
CORONADO: Officers inside the building. Am I clear to open the door here on the south side of the building?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It's after this moment that we learn that Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo is inside the building, as other officers crowd around, looking for guidance.
Arredondo has been a central figure in the state's investigation of the shooting. DPS Director Steve McCraw calling his actions on the day of the massacre a, quote, "abject failure."
As more officers arrive and more inaction, you can hear police begin to seek direction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we doing here?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): We also have video from Officer Justin Mendoza (ph), who also arrived on the scene at 11:58 local time. Police helped the first students and teachers from a nearby classroom escape the building.
At the same time, Sergeant Coronado can be seen helping children escape from a window outside.
At this point, it had been nearly 25 minutes since police first entered the building.
More than 12 minutes later we get our first glimpse of Chief Arredondo in the hallway of Robb Elementary. You can hear him pleading with the gunman to give up but seemingly unaware that children may still be inside the classroom.
CHIEF PETE ARREDONDO, UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE: Let me know if there are any kids in there or anything. This could be peaceful. Could you tell me your name, anything I can know, please?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Moments later a critical piece of the puzzle from the camera of Officer Mendoza (ph). 911 dispatch gives a chilling account from a student still in the classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a child on the line.
OFFICER JUSTIN MENDOZA (PH): What was that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be Room 1-2 (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He is in the room full of victims. Full of victims at this moment.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): And yet, even with that information, six minutes go by without any sort of response.
Then we see Arredondo with a set of keys, trying and failing to make entry into a classroom near where the gunman is barricaded, eventually handing the keys off to another officer, who does make entry.
More heavily armored officers arrive, but no one gives the order to give in. Then suddenly, a new round of gunfire. But after those gunshots Arredondo, again, tries to talk with the shooter.
ARREDONDO: Can you hear me, sir?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): And again, minutes later.
ARREDONDO: Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I know. We're trying to get them out.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): After no response, police still stand around without much urgency.
Over the course of the next nearly 30 minutes, we see more officers arrive. The video obtained by CNN cuts out moments before police breach the classroom and kill the shooter at 12:51 local time. By then many young, innocent children and their two teachers were dead.
BERMAN: Such disturbing video, Shimon. We know the families had seen it ahead of time. What are you hearing from them?
PROKUPECZ (on camera): The families are right where they were when this first happened. You know, they keep learning more information. They had a chance to sit and talk to some of the legislators that are involved in this investigation, the mayor yesterday. You know, they still have answers. They still don't understand how all of this happened.
They were given the option to view this video, many of them finding it really difficult to watch, some of this of course.
Right now they're still trying to heal, because what's going on, certainly, for them is that every time investigators come forward, every time something new comes up, it's always information that they did not have before. And so it's frustrating.
And the more they learn about this police response and how police officers really just stood around; and they see this video and they see other video it just hurts them and pains them even more.
And the other thing, John, you know, school is starting in just less than a month. And so they're still -- there's so much fear and concern in the community and really right now, mistrust with all of the law enforcement and government officials.
COLLINS: And, Shimon, one of the most disturbing parts of this body cam footage that you got was where they're calling out to the shooter, and they're asking him his name.
COLLINS: And they're saying -- you know, they're calling on him to surrender.
And you hear one person who I don't believe is named say, this could still be peaceful, even though there are dead children in this classroom. And isn't that exactly the opposite of what these officers are trained to do?
PROKUPECZ: Right. It's exactly the opposite. And from every expert on this and every law enforcement official, they will tell you this.
When they see that part, that is one of the most disturbing, because what it tells you, the way in which these officers are viewing what's going on around them, some of the senior officers there like Chief Pete Arredondo, they're treating this as if it's a hostage situation, that it's a barricaded situation, not an active shooter situation.
And that is what's so disturbing. They should have known that there were still, even at that hour in those moments, 911 calls being placed by kids inside that classroom, saying they needed help. And it's not clear. Certainly, it does not seem that that information ever got to those officers that were just standing feet from that -- from those doors to the classroom.
COLLINS: Just raising so many more questions. Shimon, thank you for the reporting, though.
Ahead, we'll speak with Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents the district. His reaction to the new video and what he wants to see happen next as a response.
BERMAN: In just a few hours, jury selection will begin in the trial of Trump confidant Steve Bannon. He is facing criminal contempt charges for refusing to obey a subpoena by the January 6th Committee.
With me now CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. Great to see you this morning, Counselor. What are the charges against Steve Bannon exactly?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: John, we're about to see a little bit of history. This will actually be the first criminal trial for contempt of Congress in the United States in 39 years. The last one, back in 1983, actually resulted in a not guilty verdict. We shall see here.
Now, this all started back when the January 6th Committee subpoenaed Steve Bannon in September. He essentially ignored that subpoena all together. According to the indictment, DOJ alleges, quote, "Bannon did not appear before the select committee, did not produce documents and communications, did not provide a log of withheld records, did not request an extension of time, and did not certify that he had conducted a diligent search for responsive records." Essentially, he did nothing.
As a result, Steve Bannon has now been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress, one for refusing to testify, the other for refusing to turn over documents.
Now, this is a misdemeanor, meaning it's less serious than a felony. The maximum sentence is one year in prison, $100,000 fine. But this is interesting, and this is unusual. There is a mandatory minimum of 30 days imprisonment. Usually, misdemeanor convictions nobody goes to jail. If Steve Bannon gets convicted, he has to do 30 days behind bars.
And important to know, this will not compel his testimony. Even if he's found guilty, that does not mean he'll testify. This is about punishment.
BERMAN: What's the defense? And it's interesting, because going to say, when you look at the indictment here, Bannon did not appear before the select committee, did not produce documents and communications. He didn't. No one's arguing that he did.
HONIG: Yes. That is undisputed. Here's the judge in the case. This is United States district court Judge Carl Nichols. He was nominated to the federal bench in 2019 by Donald Trump earlier in his career, he actually clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. One might think, OK, he's going to be inclined towards Steve Bannon. Oh, no.
Last week this judge completely gutted, rejected all of Steve Bannon's defenses that he wanted to offer, said they're irrelevant, said they're overly inflammatory.
And as a result, at the end of that hearing, Steve Bannon's lawyers said in court on the record, quote, What's the point in going to trial if there are no defenses?
To the young lawyers out there, the law students, don't ever say that in court. Try to have a little bit of a poker face when things don't go your way.
That said, there will be a defense. Essentially, all Bannon is left with is some version of, I didn't understand the subpoena; or I took the subpoena as an invitation to begin negotiating. Next thing I know, I get indicted.
Not super compelling but remember, prosecution has to prove their case unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt. There's no such thing as an easy trial.
BERMAN: What's the process here? How are we going to see this play out?
HONIG: Yes, so today they're going to start jury selection. Now, this is not going to be your typical jury selection, because most or all of the jurors will have heard of Steve Bannon or the committee. But the goal is not to get jurors who have never heard of anybody. The goal is to get jurors who can be fair and impartial.
There's a lot of judgment involved. As a lawyer, as a judge, do I believe this person if they say they can be impartial? That should take about a day or so. That should be fairly quick.
Move to opening statements. The prosecution will put on its case. It's basically going to be subpoena, no response.
Then we'll have the defense case. Now, no defendant ever has to put on a case. You can just say, Hey, they didn't meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I think we will see a defense here.
Big question, will Steve Bannon take the stand? Usually, defendants don't take the stand. It's Steve Bannon. Who knows?
Then we'll have closing arguments. The jury will deliberate. They'll return a verdict. Now, if it comes back not guilty, that's it. If it's guilty, the judge may revoke his bail, may say, you have to go into prison right now after that. Of course, there will be sentencing. If he's convicted, has to do 30 days. Finally, he'll have the right to appeal.
BERMAN: If he does take the stand, Steve Bannon has sort of threatened that this will be some kind of circus. How much could he get away with on the stand?
HONIG: This will be a push/pull between the judge and Steve Bannon. We'll see how much control this judge has over his courtroom. Not going to be an easy one to control, though.
BERMAN: All right. Elie Honig, thank you very much for that.
HONIG: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy suspending two top officials amid allegations of treason from within his own government.
Plus, first lady Jill Biden lamenting the crises that have prevented the president from achieving many of the things he hoped to do.
COLLINS: And Senator Ted Cruz is criticizing the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015, saying it was, quote, "clearly wrong."
COLLINS: New this morning, President Zelenskyy says he has, quote, "removed" two of his top officials, the prosecutor general and the head of the powerful state security service, amid an investigation that some within their departments have committed treason.
Zelenskyy says some of their subordinates were accused of working against Ukraine and, instead, collaborating with Russia.
Let's bring in CNN's senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, who is live in Ukraine. Ivan, what is going on with these two top officials of Zelenskyy's?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a major shakeup, Kaitlan.
Zelenskyy basically argued that there are some 651 cases of treason being investigated in different parts of law enforcement and the security forces here. That more than 60 employees of the general prosecutor's office and the state security service actually turned sides after the Russian invasion of February 24. They've stayed in Russian occupied territory, and he accuses them of actively working against the Ukrainian government.
And that's part of why he's suspending the head of the state security office and the head prosecutor, even though they're political allies, not directly accusing them of treason but saying that they cannot continue in these posts.
And he says that the big security chief who'd already been suspended in the south of the country has been now accused of treason and detained. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Everyone who together with him was part of a criminal group that worked in the interests of the Russian Federation will also be held accountable. It is about the transfer of secret information to the enemy and other facts of cooperation with the Russian special services.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now, Kaitlan, of course, the war is still raging. You may wonder where I am. This is a reception center, an aid center, run by a charity in this city for the tens of thousands of displaced people who have fled and are continuing to flee every day from the conflict zone.
So people are arriving every morning, hundreds, from other parts of Ukraine, fleeing the artillery, fleeing Russian occupation. They're coming here and they're receiving aid, everything from flour; upstairs there's clothes; there's psychiatric support and therapy; support for children, medical care. You see flour being handed out here.
Three to 500 people a day arriving in this city, fleeing the conflict. This is just one city that has some 62,000 displaced people that it's hosting right now, just a small drop in the bucket of just this massive number of millions of people displaced by Russia's deadly invasion -- Kaitlan.
COLLINS: So tragic. Ivan Watson, thank you for being there for us. Meanwhile, Starbucks is among the companies in the United States
closing down stores because of crime.
BERMAN: And gas prices now down for 34 straight days, 50 cents off their high. You can save more than 5 bucks at this point every time you fill up your tank, compared to what you could more than a month ago. What will happen going forward?
BERMAN: Welcome news for drivers this morning: gas prices falling for the 34th day in a row, down to $4.52 per gallon. That's down from $4.99 just one month ago.
Here now, CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon. These price are dropping. They're down quite a bit from their high.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And here is perhaps some more good news. They're expected to drop even further in the weeks to come.
What happens after that is anyone's guess, but at least in the next few weeks, they're expected to drop even further.
And a big part of the reason why is fears of an economic slowdown. When you look at the price of crude, which by the way, gas prices, 60 percent of that is the price of crude, is reflected in the price of crude. Crude is off about 20 bucks or so in the last six weeks or so. So you're seeing that reflected at the pump.
And of course, we know that concerns about an economic slowdown are likely not going away. And so there is some -- some expectations moving forward that we could see prices drop even more.
There's an important date coming up, August 3. That's when OPEC Plus meets. We're going to hear if we might see some more oil supply. The president sort of alluding to we might hear something in the next few weeks. So August 3, it's going to become a lot more important, as well, as we potentially get some more.