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The Situation Room

U.S. Hits All-Time High Average Of New COVID Cases; 1/6 Commission Stands Down On Seeking Trump Docs After Biden Admin Pushback; Slain Teen's Family Speaks Out After LAPD Shooting Video Released; Rep. Dingell Shares Threatening, Profanity-Filled Voicemail; Fifth Person Dies In Denver Area Shooting Spree That Included Car Chase, Gunfights With Police. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 28, 2021 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Also breaking, the January 6th committee is standing down on its requests for some documents from the Trump White House, this after the Biden administration pushed back at the panel apparently for the first time.

And graphic video released of the police shooting of a teenage girl in Los Angeles. Her family is now speaking out about her death, as officers pursue the suspect at a department store. They're sharing their grief and demanding transparency.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jim Acosta and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And we begin with the record breaking surge of COVID-19 cases here in the United States fueled by the omicron variant. Let's go right to CNN's Tom Foreman.

Tom, this is very worrisome. The average of new cases has never been higher as we head into the third year of this pandemic.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We keep hoping it will be better. This is not the holiday season anyone wanted. We have now ticked up over 250,000 average daily cases. That's a record nobody wanted to see. And some of the most vulnerable among us are bearing the brunt of it.


FOREMAN (voice over): Nationwide, hospitalizations of children with COVID are up, on average, nearly 50 percent in just one week. New York City has seen pediatric admissions jump to five times what they were. In Washington, D.C., half the children coming Children's National Hospital are testing positive. That's not because omicron is uniquely targeting them. But because --

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: We see children who are hospitalized because of COVID or in the ICU because of COVID, they're all unvaccinated. They are unvaccinated. The parents are unvaccinated. The siblings are unvaccinated.

FOREMAN: that's why some medical professionals believe the reopening of schools, especially those with thorough COVID safety measures, could reduce the spread of among kids, although others are not convinced.

DR. ALLISON MESSINA, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: I think that what we're going to see is once children go back to school within a week or two of schools opening is when we're going to see our highest numbers.

FOREMAN: Amid the winter weather, the pandemic is roaring across the country, with over a quarter million new cases now diagnosed daily. That's a record.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: This omicron variant is such a game changer in terms of its high, high transmissibility. It's like this big virus blizzard.

FOREMAN: Hospitalizations are only about half of what they were last winter, but some states are seeing peaks there too, including among vaccinated, medical workers with breakthrough cases. They are being sent home just when demand for their expertise is soaring.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, ACADEMIC DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: That's still an impossible strain on an already strained health care system. So, I understand the pressure to get workers back earlier.

FOREMAN: Omicron is spreading so fast, the impact is now going far beyond the widely reported holiday travel problems. In New York City, Apple has closed all its stores to browsing shoppers. In Maryland, courts are cutting back their winter schedules. And everywhere, health officials are fretting over the long lines for testing.

MESSINA: So, I think that that's going to be a significant challenge and we can overcome that supply challenge and also the cost challenge. I think that will help us tremendously.


FOREMAN (on camera): Some health officials think the CDC's new guidelines, that shorter isolation period if you are infected and asymptomatic, some people, but maybe that will help because it will get more people on the frontlines dealing with all of these myriad problems. Others are simply not convinced. They are saying omicron and whatever is happening is with the pandemic is just so aggressive now. No matter what we do, these virus numbers are going to keep ticking up, at least for a while. Jim?

ACOSTA: Yes, tough few weeks ahead. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

As the omicron variant keeps spreading, the demand for COVID tests is growing by the day. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Miami.

Leyla, you've been at a testing site in Miami all day. What kind of lines are you seeing? And I suppose, are you hearing some frustrations as well?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing some frustrations because these are lines that could take three to five hours to get through, according to the workers. They actually had to open two new sites here in Miami-Dade County to try to meet the demand for testing right now, this, where we are right now, one of the busiest sites in Miami-Dade, in South Florida. And just yesterday alone, they administered about 9,000 tests here.

Now, the workers telling me that they expect this level of demand to continue into the New Year.


YANETTE SHIPP, COVID-19 TESTING SITE WORKER IN MIAMI: It's almost like COVID started all over again, so with the influx of patients that are coming through.

A lot of people aren't feeling well, so that's why they are coming to us. And then we also understand we have a lot of patients that are concerned. I was exposed or I was next to somebody who was exposed. I just want to make sure that I'm okay.


SANTIAGO: And so those -- that's where the on-site testing here.


But, remember, there is also quite the search for the at-home rapid test kits. Miami-Dade, over a two-day period, distributed about 152,000 test kits. They are now all out and have put in another request into the Department of Health for more.

ACOSTA: Yes, people are scrambling for those test kits, no question about it. Leyla Santiago in Miami, thanks so much.

Joining me now, Dr. Ashish Jha, he is the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Jha, great to see you, I appreciate your expertise, as always.

This is troubling news, the U.S. hitting a record average number of new COVID-19 cases. You've said the next month is going to be dire when it comes to these new infections, particularly for the unvaccinated, who, we should note, have been warned time and again to get vaccinated. What should we be bracing for?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes. First, thanks for having me back. Yes, we are basically at our pandemic highs right now and that's with a lot of undercounting. A lot of states are not reporting. A lot of people haven't been able to get their tests. So, there's no doubt about it, we have more infections in America right now than at any point in the pandemic and we're accelerating.

So, what I expect is the next couple of weeks, we're going to see increasing numbers of infections. Our pandemic high was 250,000 infections in a day. No doubt we will at least get half a million. We might hit a million a day.

The question will be the hospitals, Jim, what's going to happen there? And even with a milder version, which I do expect that it will turn out that omicron is milder, there are enough unvaccinated people, there are enough high-risk people who have not gotten a booster that I think hospitals are going to be really strained in the next few weeks. And that's what I'm worried about because we need a functioning health care system for everybody, not just for people with COVID.

ACOSTA: And also troubling, coronavirus hospitalizations in children are up almost 50 percent in just one week. Just how concerned are you about this sudden increase in the number of children who are coming down with more severe illness? We don't want to see kids going to the hospital but that's what we are seeing right now in big numbers.

JHA: Yes. And, you know, we know where kids get infected. They get infected at home, from family members who are not often vaccinated themselves. We know that a large proportion of kids have not gotten vaccinated, obviously, because under five can't. But A lot of 5 to 17- year-olds haven't gotten vaccinated because of misinformation about COVID and kids.

So, it's really important to get kids vaccinated. And, obviously, we're going to have to track this trend very carefully. I don't think there's anything about omicron that makes it particularly dangerous for kids but a reminder that COVID is a real problem for kids and we have large outbreaks. Kids are affected every bit as much as -- kids can be affected as well as adults.

ACOSTA: And let's talk about the new CDC isolation guidelines, the agency recommending people who test positive isolate for just five days now if they are asymptomatic, or their symptoms are improving. Do you think this is the right move? Can you explain why? I mean, we can't have everybody out sick. I guess, from a practical standpoint, we had to do something.

JHA: Yes. But also we should think about what the data says about contagiousness, right? And we know is that people are most contagious a couple of days before they have symptoms and two to three days after they have symptoms. And so waiting for five days after people have symptoms and waiting for people to become asymptomatic to feel fully better, and then still masking up for five more days. That's the CDC guidelines. I think it's pretty reasonable.

Many of us have argued for weeks that we should actually be shortening it to five days but then adding a negative antigen test, one of those rapid home tests, as another way to really bolster confidence if someone is not contagious.

There are ways of getting people back into society, back to their families, back to work safely. We've got to start deploying those.

ACOSTA: But the CDC says there's no need to test out of isolation after five days. What do you think? Should there be a testing requirement or can people confidently return to work knowing they are not endangering others without having tested negative?

JHA: Yes. I really think a negative test would help enormously here, Jim. And that's why I have been calling for it. The CDC's response is, well, we are going to ask people to wear a mask. Look, if people wear a really high quality mask for five days, that's a reasonable alternative. It's also reasonable to ask the question, do we think people will do that reliably, wouldn't a negative test be better. I think a negative test would be better, but I understand the CDC went down this road.

ACOSTA: And we're seeing an increased emphasis on mask-wearing as cases spike. Let's talk about the kind of masks people should be wearing. And is there a problem in that we have a stubborn segment of the population that won't get vaccinated, won't wear masks? Isn't that a huge part of the problem here.

JHA: Well, yes. There's been, I mean, obviously, a ton of misinformation about vaccines and arguably even more misinformation about mask-wearing, and has become strangely politicized in a way that makes zero sense. It's just one more public health tool that we have to control the virus and how it spreads and also to protect ourselves.


So, in my mind, if you are indoors with people outside of your household, you should just be wearing a mask. It's really not that hard. And you should be wearing a high quality mask, many of which are widely available, not very expensive. So, that is what people should be doing to protect themselves in their communities. And I'm really sorry to see that this has now become a political symbol as opposed to just some basic health tool.

ACOSTA: Yes, especially with these number skyrocketing right now and kids being infected in numbers we haven't seen in some time. Dr. Ashish Jha, thanks so much, as always. We appreciate it.

JHA: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Good to see you.

Breaking news, coming up next, the Biden administration pushing back on the House January 6th committee's request for some Trump White House documents.


ACOSTA: There's breaking news in the House investigation into the January 6th insurrection. The panel standing down a request for some Trump White House documents after some pushback from the Biden administration.

CNN Law Enforcement Correspondent Whitney Wild is working the story for us. Whitney, how significant is this pushback from the Biden administration? I suspect this has something to do with executive privilege. WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. So, this is in a trench of documents that they are tasked with reviewing before the National Archives sends it to the House select committee.


And what we now know is that, again, the House select committee investigating January 6 paring back that request from some documents from the Trump White House after the Biden administration pushed back on that.

And it's noteworthy because this is the first time the Biden administration appears to say, you can't have some of this stuff. And this is significant because the House select committee and the Biden administration, up until this point, have worked pretty much in lockstep and continued to do so as the House select committee is acquiescing to what the Biden administration wants.

In some cases, Jim, the Biden administration determined that documents were just not relevant to the investigation. And so in that case, the House select committee said, okay, we won't even try to go after those at all.

But in other cases, the committee is deferring its request for documents, the administration decided were either highly sensitive and also originated outside of the White House within executive branch agencies. So, they are just deferring the request for that. So, there really is a chance that they could come back to this later on and actually get those documents.

But these are the kinds of developments that show the committee is still working really at warp speed to try to collect and analyze this information for what we think is possibly an interim report in the summer with the possibility of a full report sometime this fall. The committee is going to enter a new phase with plans for public hearings sometime next year, Jim.

So, as we move forward through next year, there will be this new public phase, because up until this point, most of their work has been behind closed doors.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. That's right. And it's something a lot of folks out there have been waiting for. All right, CNN's Whitney Wild, stand by. Thanks for that.

We want to bring in Defense Attorney and former Federal Prosecutor Shan Wu. Shan, this is a first, the Biden administration limiting the scope of these documents and this document request. What does that tell you? They're not slamming the door on the whole thing.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly, they're not, Jim. And I think, in some ways, it's a return to some normalcy. I mean, normally, this is how these types of requests would be handled from Congress, with White House Counsel's Office looking over it, asserting some privilege, releasing others. And I think what's important here is that the Biden administration is not slamming the door but they're also not throwing out the baby with the bath water. They want to be careful about not opening up a precedent where anything involving national security could be looked at from Congress. I also think it plays up some important differences between a congressional investigation versus a criminal one, which would have a lot more security and privacy for the White House's peace of mind (ph).

ACOSTA: And, Shan, it doesn't sound like the committee has a schedule yet for public hearings and they don't plan to release their final report until the fall. What do you make of that timeline? Are you concerned that this is just taking too long for the public to be able to absorb all of the details of what happened on January 6?

WU: I think I share a lot of the impatience that so many of us have to want to know the full narrative, what they have been building, but they have been building so much evidence and interviewing so many people that they can't really just throw it all out there in a hearing. It has to be carefully prepared for, carefully organized. Otherwise, they run the risk of having a very meandering hearing that's bogged down in different narratives.

So, it takes a lot of work actually to present the hearing in a way that will be truly educational for the American people and also, of course, really lay out a narrative and roadmap for the potential criminal charges that could be pursued by the Justice Department.

ACOSTA: And, Whitney, is the committee feeling -- are members of the committee feeling any pressure to get this done sooner? I mean, I suppose they are hearing some of this from their constituents, progressive activists out there and so on. Is there some concern among Democrat about a final report coming out right before the midterms? That's a long time from now.

WILD: Well, I think a few things. I think that this timeline is just what we know today. And what we have seen reporting on this committee for several months now is that what we know today can change tomorrow. We see news all the time coming out of this committee, so it's possible that this timeline will change.

It is not news to anybody that there's an election in November of 2022. However, I think what's really important to remember here is you have a lot of people working really long hours to try to make this report the historical record of what happened on January 6. And they don't want this work to be politicized. So, again, no surprise that there's an election around the corner but there's still a lot of work to do and this timeline very much could change.

ACOSTA: And, Shan, while the select committee investigates the Justice Department who is trying to prosecute January 6th rioters, a federal judge gave a green light for a major conspiracy case against leaders of the Proud Boys. That sounds pretty significant.

WU: It is very significant. That's really a cornerstone of the Justice Department's theory here is the obstruction of a congressional proceeding.


And were that theory to have been knocked under a First Amendment defense, that would have been a problem, but it hasn't been. And this judge just joins the latest of a series of judges really dismissing that argument that you can pre-textually claim that violence and an attempt to overthrow the election were really just First Amendment expressions, like burning a flag or wearing an arm band. So, I think that's really been put to rest here.

Now, they could appeal, but in a criminal case, that appeal is not going to be available to them normally until after there's a conviction. So, I think this should clear the road for those prosecutions.

ACOSTA: And, Whitney, what can we expect from some of these high profile January 6th trials that are set to begin in February? A lot of folks are wondering when are we going to see some big names from January 6 be put on trial.

WILD: Well, exactly. I mean, what we're going to see are the highest profile cases that aim at this idea there was a coordinated effort to try to undermine the election in a violent way. And that's what the Justice Department is going for with some of these major conspiracy cases. This coordinated effort, that is the thing that DOJ is drilling down on. And as we get to February and we see these higher profile cases, we will see how successful DOJ is in bringing forward this idea that this was a coordinated effort, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Whitney Wild, Shan Wu, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

WU: Good to see you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, good to see you.

And coming up, two experts weigh in on the rapid rise in hospitalizations of children with COVID-19 and what it reveals about the pandemic right now.



ACOSTA: And we are following breaking news on the record-shattering spike in COVID cases here in the U.S. The average number of new infections just hit an all-time high. This comes hospitalizations among children are surging.

CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will join us in just a few moments. But, first, let me bring in some experts to talk about this. Dr. Stanley Spinner, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President at Texas Children's Pediatrics and Texas Children's Urgent Care0, and also with us, Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children's National Hospital. We were just about to go to Elizabeth Cohen, we're going to join her in just a moment. But, first, as we were talking about earlier in the program, Dr. Spinner, we are seeing this nationwide spike in hospitalizations of children right now with the coronavirus. Can you tell us what you are seeing in Texas? And are more children falling seriously ill? What are the cases like that you are seeing?

DR. STANLEY SPINNER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER AND VICE PRESIDENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S PEDIATRICS AND TEXAS CHILDREN'S URGENT CARE: So, yes, here in Houston, we are seeing more and more kids getting infected. Our positivity rates are higher than they have ever been and they're going up daily. We have over 45 kids in the hospital at Texas Children's Hospital. Not quite the record that we have saw with delta but, again, that number keeps rising.

It's probably just the fact that more and more kids are getting infected, and as a result, whatever percentage that is is then resulting in more kids being hospitalized. But we are seeing the same types of symptoms that we have seen before, respiratory primarily, oxygen -- need for oxygen or assisted breathing. And we are still having some kids with the multisystem inflammatory condition that are requiring hospitalization after they have COVID. And those kids often end up in the intensive care unit.

ACOSTA: Well, we certainly don't want to see that, Dr. DeBiasi. Does that sound similar to what you are experiencing at Children's National Hospital? How worrisome is this?

DR. ROBERTA DEBIASI, DIVISION CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL HOSPITAL: It's similar with a slightly different twist. So, I think one thing people should know is that children have been hospitalized with this disease throughout this entire pandemic. So, we have had children through every one of the four waves. And what we're seeing now is that since the overall number of infections is so much higher, because this is such a contagious virus, that the percentage -- the percentage of kids that end up hospitalized really has not gone up. It's really around 2 percent of any child that gets sick will end up hospitalized. But if you have a lot more infections, you're going to have a lot more kids hospitalized.

So, we are now up to about 6,100 children that have come to children's hospital in D.C. with symptoms, and about a thousand of those have been hospitalized. About one-third of those have needed intensive care support. And two-thirds are in our isolation unit needing oxygen or some support but not intensive care.

What's been striking about this omicron-related surge is that the amount of kids coming in every day has almost doubled. So, our peak number of admissions, that means coming into the hospital to stay every day, peaked out at around 20 when we were in the other waves. And now we are getting almost 45, 50 kids in the hospital as what we call our census, the number of kids that are in the hospital, sometimes up to 18, 19 in a single day. So, that is really the big difference and it's not because the virus is more severe, it's because the overall infectivity and number of cases has really shot up. ACOSTA: And, Dr. Spinner, coronavirus cases in children are already skyrocketing. When we see the impact of the holidays combined with the return to school, in January, how much do you fear this is going to get? How much worse do you fear this is going to get?

SPINNER: I think we fear that it's going to get a lot worse.


Between getting together for the holidays and getting back to school, here in Texas, masking is not necessarily as popular as it is in other parts of the country. So, a lot of schools, they don't have mandatory masking. A lot of kids, they are unmasked. And that certainly will allow for more -- I think a more widespread scenario.

ACOSTA: And, Dr. DeBiasi, can you describe the difference between a child who is vaccinated and tests positive for the virus compared to a child who has not been vaccinated and catches this virus? Do you see a difference?

DEBIASI: Yes. I mean, if you look at the children that need to be sick enough that they need to come into the hospital, the vast majority of them are either partially vaccinated, unvaccinated or have an immunocompromising condition, even though they did the best they could and got their vaccine. So, the same rules that apply to adults where you're much more likely to be very sick apply to children.

The one thing we've been very lucky is that the mortality in children is very low. So, even our children that are extremely ill, critically ill, we've gotten very good at taking care of these children. There are interventions we can do both supportive and therapeutics, such that the mortality rate remains less than a half a percent in children, which is a really big difference than adults.

ACOSTA: And, Dr. Spinner, I spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci about vaccinations for children last night. Let's listen to what he told me.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I appeal to parents that if your child is five and over, get that child vaccinated. Not only for their own safety of, because you see there's a lot more infections in children, some of which result in hospitalizations. And that's one of the things you don't want to happen.


ACOSTA: Is that your message as well?

SPINNER: Absolutely. We talk to our families every day and explain to them the importance of protecting their children, which, in turn, helps protect the rest of the family and others around them. And one of the things that we talk about, yes, the incidence of children being hospitalized is so much lower than adults, but as a parent with a child in the hospital, for any reason, it is such a traumatic event, that even though they may be hospitalized and, thank goodness, come home, just being in the hospital is absolutely just terrifying. So, it's so important to try to minimize that risk by protecting them.

ACOSTA: Yes. And, Dr. DeBiasi, I suppose in those kinds of cases, you probably are hearing from parents from time to time who are saying, gosh, I wish I had gotten my kid vaccinated. Maybe I would have prevented this. Do you get stories like that?

DEBIASI: Yes, we do. Of course, we never try to say that to someone with a child in the hospital, because it really is a traumatic event for the whole family. I think one thing I would add is that even though the kids do well and thankfully don't have a high mortality, what we really don't know yet is what are the long-term effects of this on children?

And we are studying 1,000 children over three years to look at the long-term effects, whether that's cardiac pulmonary, their mental health, their quality of life, how they develop over time, because these are all different than adults. These are children that are in a really key developmental stage of their life. And we don't know yet how this virus affects these kids.

But we do know that long COVID occurs in kids. It happens even in children who have had very mild infections. And we have a dedicated clinic to take a look at those kids and help them with their variety of symptoms that we are starting to catalog. And many of them have problems thinking, fatigue, they have abdominal pain, headaches. And we are fully booked out through March, so it's not a rare problem. We hope it's less than adults. But there's a lot to be learned about this effect in children.

So, getting them vaccinated is the way to prevent this and these kids are eligible. And we don't have the uptake we really need to have, particularly in the kids in that 5 to 11 age group. We really need to get rates up. And that is our number one group for infections right now. When we look at our daily lab data, it's that 5 to 11 that's really the highest group.

ACOSTA: Absolutely such a top priority and something they could get done during the holiday break here for a lot of kids before they go back to school. All right, Dr. Stanley Spinner and Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, thanks so much to both of you. We appreciate it.

SPINNER: Thank you.

DEBIASI: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thank you. And just ahead, the family of a 14-year-old girl killed by an officer's apparent stray bullet shares their grief as police release dramatic body cam video.



ACOSTA: A scene of deadly chaos captured on body cam video released by the Los Angeles Police Department. It shows their attempt to capture an assault suspect, which led to the shooting death of a 14- year-old seeking safety in a store dressing room. As CNN Senior National Correspondent Kyung Lah reports, the girl's grief-stricken family is now speaking out.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Searching for strength no parent should need, Soledad Peralta recounted the horror no mother should ever live.

Something struck my daughter, Valentaina, Peralta says. It threw us to the ground and she died in my arms. That something was a bullet from a Los Angeles police officer. The LAPD was responding to multiple calls of an attacker in the Burlington clothing store in North Hollywood.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a hostile customer in my store, attacking customers.

LAH: In the chaos of 911 calls were reports of a shooter inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a guy with a gun.

LAH: Police say the attacker did not have a gun but this metal bike lock, which he used to strike female shoppers, hitting one so violently, she was bleeding on the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, she's bleeding. She's bleeding.

LAH: The LAPD says, as they shot the suspect, one of the bullets ricocheted off the floor and went through the wall striking 14-year- old Valentina Orellana-Peralta in the chest. She was hugging her mother in a dressing room as they hid from that attacker. They were praying. You can hear the horror in the seconds after the bullet struck Valentina.

Our sweet angel is gone forever, she says. Valentina, give us the strength to give us justice. My daughter, I love you. Her father held up a skateboard, the Christmas present Valentina never opened. I'm going to leave it at her grave, says her father, so she can skate with the angels.

Valentina and her parents They are immigrants from Chile. The 14-year- old wanted to stay in America say her parents believing it was safer here.

BEN CRUMP, FATHER'S ATTORNEY: They came to America from Chile to get away from violence and injustice. They can't believe this happened in America.


LAH (on camera): Now, the LAPD says it is early in the investigation, promises a thorough, transparent investigation and examination of this officer-involved shooting. The California Attorney General's Office is also going to be involved.

As far as what the parents are going to do, as far as their next step, they weren't very specific about that, Jim. They said that what they wanted today is for the public to learn a lot more about their little girl. She was 14 years old, loved school, her favorite subject was robotics and she dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen. Jim?

ACOSTA: Such a shame, such a sad story. All right, Kyung Lah, thank you so much for that report. We appreciate it.

Let's dig deeper with CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey and CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson.

Chief, this one just breaks your heart into a million pieces. It's just awful. Let me just play this body camera video of the moment these officers arrive on the scene. I'm sure you have seen it a few times. What stands out to you now that we're seeing this video? I know we were talking about it last night. You wanted to see this video. What stands out to you now?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, this is incredibly tragic. And my heart goes out to that family. It's just unbelievable tragedy that took place. But when you look at the shooting, you have to look at in its entirety, in other words, from the time they got a call, which started off as an assault, upgraded to a person with a gun, shots fired. So, when they enter, they think they have an active shooter.

They form up, as they are trained to do. They go upstairs. They do encounter the one woman who was bleeding and the suspect. The issue becomes whether or not the use of deadly force was justified against the suspect. In my opinion, it was. I mean, he was armed with that bike lock and chain. He had caused serious injury to several people. The officer had no way of knowing that that young lady or anyone was behind that wall.

You are trained to only fire if your field of vision is clear. There's no way he could see behind that wall. And it's just an absolute tragedy that that bullet penetrated. I heard on an earlier show someone questioned the type of weapon the officer had. Well, an active, that's the kind of weapon that you would draw and that you would use in that particular type of situation, one of your patrol rifles. So, that's consistent with their policy. But, again, it doesn't bring her back. It's a tragedy but this is not a Kim Potter type of situation, as I see it.

LAH: And, Joey, you can hear the officer's instruction repeatedly, slow down, slow down. Could that be used against the officers? I assume that's going to come up during the course of this investigation.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, good to be with you and Chief Ramsay. I think there are two tracks in this investigation. One obviously is the criminal track, the other, not in terms of the investigation but what the family will be doing is a civil type of approach, right, civil involving monetary damages and perhaps structural reforms.

As it relates, Jim, to the criminal aspect of it, I don't see any criminality on the part of the officers.


I think, certainly, their state of mind was informed with respect to their belief that there was an active shooter. They saw blood that was on the ground. There were indications that this person was very violent, was attacking people, engaged in an attack with a chain. That's problematic.

On the civil side, however, I see liability for the following reasons. You never want to send guess officers. They are there on the ground. They are doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances. I think the questions are going to be, did they need to shoot at that specific time? Was there an opportunity at all for de-escalation? Was anyone in specific harm at the time that the shot was fired? Was there an opportunity to have other reasonable alternatives?

With regard to someone being -- you know, this girl -- heartbreaking, tragic, of course, the police wouldn't know that. But the issue for me is the risk perceived is the duty defined. You are in a public place. You are in Burlington coat factory. Not that you're going to see through anything, but you have no know, could there be a probability there would be a projectile that would go elsewhere?

So, based upon those circumstances, I think the family will be looking for reforms. In addition, money will never bring anybody back. That's what our system has. That's what they will look to do with respect to a civil litigation for monetary damages.

ACOSTA: All right. Gentlemen, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Such a sad story. We will stay on top of it. And thanks to those insights as always.

Coming up, a leading Democrat on a vile voicemail threat she received and the climate of hate against lawmakers nearly one year after the Capitol riot.



ACOSTA: Right now, we want to get more reaction to the January 6th Committee's timetable for the coming year. The panel aiming to release its initial findings in the summer, and a final report in the fall.

And we are joined by Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and senior whip in the House.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for being with us.

I want to -- let's jump right into this. Does it worry you to hear that the committee doesn't plan to release this report until next fall? Doesn't there need to be more accountability and more urgency before then?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Well, I think you have seen a sense of urgency of the people that they are talking to. The -- they are trying to get the facts and I think now, more than ever, the facts matter. And I am not going to tell someone what timeline to do their investigation on because I think it's more important that it be done in a thorough and factual, non-emotional, non-passionate way.

ACOSTA: And meanwhile, the situation up on Capitol Hill is still very toxic nearly a year after the January 6th attack.

You came on CNN. You shared a threat you got over voicemail, similar to what some of your colleagues are experiencing.

Let's play that for our viewers and talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You goddamn old, senile (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You're as old and ugly as Biden. You ought to get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the planet. You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) foul (EXPLETIVE DELETED). They ought to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) try you for treason (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You and every one of your scumbag (EXPLETIVE DELETED) friends. I hope your family dies in front of you. I pray to God, if you've got any children, they die in your face.


ACOSTA: It -- it pains me to even listen to that. It's just so awful, Congresswoman, I mean, how do you do your job, help your constituents, you know, carry on the work of your office with this kind of vitriol coming in? And I mean, is this just the tip of the iceberg?

DINGELL: So, Jim, I kind of want to -- this was shared in a, as you know, when we were talking about civility, in the Congress in America. You know, this is just unfortunately several threats I probably get a week, and that doesn't talk about the written Facebook or mail comments that we get. And many other offices are getting these. But it's also happening in our communities.

We need to think about what is happening. I was at a Coney Island in my district and a waitress who had been there for 35 years said, I can't take the insults anymore. Someone from the Detroit Metro Airport was in tears at how rude people have been this last week. Frontline workers, doctors and nurses are (INAUDIBLE).

We all have to take a deep breath and think about our words and that they have consequences. House of Representatives is reflective of the country. Our communities are seeing a lot of fear, hatred, anger, vitriolicness. It's not okay. It's not okay for us as a country.

ACOSTA: And -- and quick, very quickly, what's the solution?

DINGELL: We got to think about it. We all got to work at it. We got to remember what we were taught as children to treat each other with respect and dignity. And all of us need to take responsibility for trying to teach -- to treat each other with the courtesy we want to be treated -- treated with. Do unto your neighbor as you would have done unto yourself.

ACOSTA: It's a great message.

All right. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, we're short on time but such an important subject. Thanks for sharing that experience with us. We hope it strikes a cord and people do get back to some decency. That would be a big help.

Thanks for your time this evening. We appreciate it.

DINGELL: Thank you. Remember, united we stand, divided we fall.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, that's right. Thank you.

And up next, the death toll climbs in a killing spree that rocked the Denver area.



ACOSTA: And we are just learning that a fifth person has died in a Denver area shooting spree that also injured three people, including a police officer.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has the latest.

Omar, what more are you learning about the investigation? Some -- some new information has come in?


Well, we just learned from police the suspect has been identified as 47-year-old Lyndon McLeod and he allegedly shot and killed five people over the course of a little more than an hour Monday afternoon, injured others, as you mentioned, including a police officer.

But police also revealed that these people may have been known to the suspect. They believe he had a connection, at least to some of them, and that's not all they revealed today. Take a listen.


CHIEF PAUL PAZEN, DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT: We would like to confirm that this individual was on the radar of law enforcement, that there were two previous investigations into this individual's action. Neither of those investigations resulted in state or federal criminal charges. These previous investigations took place in 2020 and early 2021. They will be part of this ongoing investigation into this violent crime spree that took place.


JIMENEZ: And a lot of what the information that's coming out in the past 24 hours has been tied to what happened. Now, the next step, Jim, is going to be looking into why.

ACOSTA: CNN's Omar Jimenez, thanks for staying on top of that.

I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.