Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Soon: Bail, Hearing For Suspected Gunman; Suspect Lost Legal Fight With Paper Over A 2011 Column. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 29, 2018 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:10]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. A lot going on this hour including the first update from police on the horrific shooting in that Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper newsroom that left five people dead.

Just minutes from now, we're going to hear from officials in Annapolis, Maryland, they'll be holding a news conference. We will bring that to you as soon as it begins. There are so many questions left unanswered this morning.

Also happening this hour, the man the police say is the gunman, he will face his first hearing before a judge. He's now formally charged with five counts of first degree murder.

This morning, though, our focus remains on those hard-working journalists and staffers caught in the path of his rampage. Were the victims you see there specifically targeted? Police do not know yet the exact motivation for the attack.

They do know that the newspaper, the "Capital Gazette" was definitely a target and the gunman had been threatening people at the paper for years.

CNN's Rene Marsh is in Annapolis, Maryland, as well. She's been there, watching all of this play out since yesterday. Rene, what are investigators saying now about what has happened and also what happens now to the shooter?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, new this morning, we know that surveillance cameras were rolling and captured the moment that this shooter stormed that newsroom. That video was actually used as evidence when charging this shooter with five counts of first degree murder.

We got a hold -- CNN got a hold of the charging documents this morning that says that the shooter with a shotgun in hand shot out the glass doors before entering that newsroom. Then he targeted those journalists.

He, himself, the shooter, even hid under a desk to evade police. We also have some sound from a journalist who was inside the newsroom at that time. Here's what he said it was like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL DAVIS, STAFF WRITER, "CAPITAL GAZETTE" (via telephone): He shot through the front door. The glass shattered. He was going down our newsroom, starting from the front and, yes, just continually shooting people. At some point when I was listening to him reload, it, you know, are we all going to die? It is not necessarily, is he done. It is, is he not going to leave until everyone in here is dead?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: All right. And, you know, you were mentioning the victims and the focus being there. That is the tone and the feel here in Annapolis, I spoke with the mayor, he knew some of these victims.

Many of the people that I spoke to, that knew these victims because they were not just journalists, they were part of the community, they covered the community, this is their own newspaper.

The five victims, the journalists shot dead at work, in their newsroom, their photos above the fold here, as not only the community, but the entire state remembers them. The governor of Maryland ordering the flags fly at half-staff in their memory -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Rene, thank you so much. We'll get back to Rene as we have lots of moving parts today, this hour, with regard to the investigation and the man now charged.

Court documents show that the accused gunman lost a legal fight with the newspaper. He filed defamation lawsuit that seems to unravel his guilty plea in a harassment case back in 2011.

Shimon Prokupecz has been gathering more information on him. Shimon, the county police chief said today that they are frustrated. That was his word, that they know what happened, but they're working on a lot of the whys, he said.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Kate. Think part of this is because the why is they don't know why this happened yesterday. We have been talking about this grudge the shooter had against the paper, really since 2011, 2012.

In 2011, they published the story about him, after he was arrested for harassment, he was stalking a former schoolmate of his on Facebook. They connected. He continued to harass her.

She eventually filed a report with the police and he was arrested, and the newspaper did a story about that and it was more about how do you deal with Facebook stalking? And then he sued the newspaper for that story, he lost it, but really the question is, why yesterday?

Why did this gunman decide to take this shotgun, walk into the newsroom and kill people? And that's really the question, you know, certainly investigators that I have talked to this morning are seeking to answer.

He's not cooperating. So, they don't know his reasons for doing this, his motivation certainly for doing this. But what they do know is that he's a 38-year-old man, he was living in Laurel, Maryland, about 30 minutes from the newsroom.

They don't know -- they haven't told us at least they did not know how he got to the newspaper, whether he drove there or took a bus or a train. They didn't know that and really now for them it is -- they're trying to piece together the last couple of days to see if there is anything that triggered this.

[11:05:06] He didn't have a lot of family. His family who have been interviewed by police have essentially said that he's been distant, kind of on his own. And then we know a lot from his Twitter page.

Though it has been fairly quiet, up until about 2016, where he also was just kind of railing against the newspaper, some of the editors there, the staff members of the newspaper.

So, centrally the police have a lot of information about his history, but really, Kate, really it is the why, as to why was it that yesterday he walked in there and opened fire.

BOLDUAN: Yes. No kidding. Well, let's see what kind of answers we get when police hold a press conference, another update later this hour. We'll bring that to you. Shimon will be with us for that as well. Shimon, thanks so much

Joining me right now is CNN law enforcement analyst, Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent under President Obama, and James Gagliano, a former FBI supervisory agent.

James, the police chief, they said this morning, they've searched the gunman's home and that they didn't find kind of a motivator. That's how he put it, but they did find what he said was evidence of the origins of this plan. What could that be?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure, well, first of all, Kate, very difficult, especially with folks like Jonathan and I being former law enforcement, something happens to a cop, we feel it viscerally, walking around seeing you and your colleagues knowing an attack on one of you, there were five here, is an attack on all of you.

And it is certainly sobering. I think from the police perspective, obviously, the evidence that they're going to harvest from this individual's house is going to be critical. But what is more important than that, whether or not he left behind a manifesto, is some of the screens he put on Twitter.

We live if an era with we respect first amendment and free speech rights. You use hyperbolic speech, I'll give you one example, I'll make corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities on folks he was suing in that county, you can argue that was hyperbole or he doesn't mean specifically.

But that's the daunting work that law enforcement must do, sifting it out, figuring out what is dangerous speech and what is somebody blowing off steam.

BOLDUAN: But there is so much of it.

GAGLIANO: Once again, we're sitting here in the aftermath of a tragic situation, looking at all of the warning signs. It can't get clearer than this. We have seen red flags going back to here is an individual that has a history of harassment, stalking, online threats, you know.

Went after the newspaper in general. I mean, how many more red flags do we need to, you know, put up the flagpole before someone starts intersecting with this individual on the behavioral continuum.

This is unacceptable. You know, that someone like this can go about our society, and, you know, act like this and then execute basically without any resistance at all this horrific act.

BOLDUAN: Do you think that means -- police had an amazing response time.

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Unbelievable response time.

BOLDUAN: Unbelievable response time on this. Are you saying that this goes to somebody you need to report or that police need to start going after people like this?

WACKROW: Again, this is about creating a culture of security awareness. We take online posts and we either dismiss them or think that, OK, this is somebody that we don't need to pay attention to.

Every threatening act needs to be looked at for the means, opportunity and intent for somebody to cause harm. And if someone just took one step back and looked at this individual, and said, hmm, should we have somebody, you know, early interdiction will -- would have played a key factor in this.

Let's look back beyond the initial harassment, let's go back into this guy's history and that's what investigators are going through right now and they're going to look, I bet you'll find early on in his life he had behavioral problems. We're seeing it time and time again.

BOLDUAN: And that's why I -- the fact he's not being cooperative, that's what we have last heard, James, from the police. The police chief said he's not saying much. If he had such a grudge and was not quiet on social media about it, does it surprise you that he doesn't want to talk now?

GAGLIANO: No, not really. You got to understand too, for folks at home, understand that Miranda, which is the right to remain silent, attaches when you have custody plus interrogation. He's clearly in custody.

Now, if they elect to interrogate him, talk to him, he can refuse to do so. They still have to let him know what his rights are. They have to attempt to take some pedigree information from him, nothing related to what just happened, but we need some background information. He may elect not to talk then.

What investigators will do is deploy active listening skills. The worse thing you can do in this situation is confer judgments. You want to defer judgment. Wow, something bad just happened, you must have really been hated, let's try to talk about that.

BOLDUAN: Are they past that point now?

GAGLIANO: Well, if he has an attorney, the answer is yes, but he could wave that right. He could say, listen, I'm happy to talk to you. Now, police only have a short finite amount of time before that attorney attaches at his initial appearance.

[11:10:08] So, if it doesn't happen then, it's not going to happen unless the attorney brings him back in and says he's willing to talk.

WACKROW: But be pragmatic about the situation in all honesty. Here is an individual that walked into an office with a shotgun and killed five people. I don't think that he's going to be cooperative with the police at this point in time. I mean, in all honesty. He's going to, you know, remain silent, he's going to let this play out. I mean, I just don't see, from his standpoint, what is the upside? That's the challenge for law enforcement.

BOLDUAN: Can I get your take as well, Jonathan, the current environment of hatred toward the media and journalists, it is promoted -- that's not new, but the fact that it is promoted by the president is new. It is very well had nothing to do with the motivations behind this sick person's act.

But I personally don't want to hear enemy of the country -- enemy of the people, and the fake news towards journalists after journalists have just been gunned down. What can the impact of hateful rhetoric like this be on sick people?

WACKROW: It can motivate them.

GAGLIANO: Be a trigger.

WACKROW: It is absolutely a trigger.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to say it again, we have no idea that it has anything to do with this, but I don't want to hear it after this.

WACKROW: Any type of rhetoric, any type of rhetoric whatsoever, you know, whether it comes from politicians or individuals or social groups, you know, that can be a trigger for somebody to enact harm. That's why words matter. They matter when, you know, we're sitting around in small groups. They matter in the corporate context. They matter in -- as public servants.

That's why I always call it out. Regardless of the political party, I'm a-political. I call balls and strikes as I see them. When people start going down that path of, you know, promoting language that can be misinterpreted, that's when I intersect. BOLDUAN: Guys, if you can stick with me because we're going to have a lot more. We're going to get an update in a few minutes. I'll lean on you to tell me what it means. We're going to get to that.

But also, facing the worst of worst nightmares, the "Capital Gazette" was determined to put out a paper still today. Journalists who lived through the tragedy not only reporting on the tragedy but also reporting the lives of their close colleagues that they have just now lost.

Journalists that we have all now lost. Here they are, Gerald Fischman, remembered as quiet and quirky, but armed with a wry wit and, quote, a wicked pen. Robert Hiaasen, he was called "Big Rob," his brother author, Carl Hiaasen, remembers his, quote, remarkable heart and humor. Yesterday was Hiaasen's wife's birthday.

John McNamara was living his dream as a sports reporter. He was as they say in sports a multitool player who could do almost anything. Rebecca Smith is the youngest victim, 34 years old. She was the recent hire at the "Capital Gazette." She leaves behind a fiance and daughter who she absolutely adored.

Wendi Winters, she spent the bulk of her career in fashion and public relations, but then built a reputation as a prolific freelance reporter and well-known community resource there. One of her four children says her life was a gift to everyone who knew her. No kidding. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:17:39]

BOLDUAN: In just a few minutes, we're going to get today's first update from investigators following yesterday's horrifying attack inside a newspaper newsroom. We'll have that for you as soon as it gets under way.

Also breaking, a judge has just delayed his bail hearing. We'll get to that when it begins. We'll bring you an update on that when we get it.

Right now, let me bring in senior senator from that state, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, he's joining me now from Annapolis. Senator, thank you so much for the time.

SENATOR BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Kate, it is good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Your thoughts this morning.

CARDIN: We're all shocked and shocked everyone but hit particularly hard here in Annapolis. The "Gazette" is a local institution beloved by the community. The people that were victimized are known. This is pretty personal, and it hurts. It really is shocking to the community.

BOLDUAN: Senator, let me play for you one of the reporters who survived the attack. She was talking to Anderson Cooper last night. Really, she was still letting what happened sink in. She is angry. She's passionate. Listen to what she says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SELENE SAN FELICE, STAFF WRITER, "CAPITAL GAZETTE": I have heard that President Trump sent his prayers. We -- I'm not trying to make this political, right, but we need more than prayers. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers, but I want something else.

I'm going to need more than a couple of days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers because it's our whole lives have been shattered. And so, thanks for your prayers, but I couldn't get a (inaudible) about them if there is nothing else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: She's asking for it, but she just sure doesn't seem confident that there will be the anything else that she's asking for. What do you tell her, Senator?

CARDIN: Well, I share her anger and her frustration, and we want action. We all want action. I heard that from the Parkland students after the Florida episode and they're not being silent. They're active today, to demand we pass common sense gun safety legislation such as universal background checks and eliminate the private ownership of soft type weapons.

[11:20:07] We heard it at Great Mills when he had the tragedy here in Maryland. The students want action. Yes, we all share in the pain, we all want to offer our thoughts, prayers, everything we can, but we need action in this country. The amount of gun violence is unacceptable, and inaction is not an option.

BOLDUAN: It continues to be -- it continues to be an option. That's why inaction remains. I mean, there is very much a debate that will continue to go on, but do you see -- do you see a debate? Do you see a real debate happening amongst you and your colleagues on this?

CARDIN: Absolutely. And I think you're going to hear more and more of this leading up to the midterm elections. We want to pass statutes now on gun safety. Yes, we also have to deal with mental health, deal with making sure communities are safe, in all ways we can, doing nothing is not acceptable option.

So, I think you're going to see a lot of us continue to focus on trying to get done this year, these bills, if not, we're going to take that message to the voters in November.

BOLDUAN: Again, this gunman had a pump action shotgun and wasn't using a semi-automatic. Every one of these is somewhat different but the outcome so much the same.

CARDIN: No question. BOLDUAN: We're waiting for the press conference, we're waiting for an update from law enforcement, that's coming any minute and I know you -- I'm sure you'll be there and listening in.

There is other news leaning on your foreign policy experience and your post with the Foreign Relations Committee that I do want to ask you about, though, that has been happening today.

Josh Rogin of "The Washington Post," he's reporting that two European officials told him when President Trump met with Emmanuel Macron in April that Trump at one point said to Emmanuel Macron, why don't you leave the E.U. and said that if France exited the E.U., Trump would offer a bilateral trade deal with much better terms. We don't know how to French president responded, Senator, but what do you make of that suggestion?

CARDIN: It is certainly against our national security interests to see a weaker Europe, weaker E.U. It seems like President Trump is using the message of Vladimir Putin of Russia to try to weaken the western alliance, the transatlantic partnership.

That makes absolutely no sense in regards to American national security interests. We want to strengthen the transatlantic partnership. We want to be united in our campaign against what Mr. Putin is trying to do to compromise our democratic institutions. So, it makes no sense at all to encourage the French to lead the E.U. That's against our interests.

BOLDUAN: Tell me if this makes sense, they're reporting that President Trump has repeatedly telling White House officials that he wants to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization. And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, he was just asked about it this morning and here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: This is an exaggeration. The president has been clear with us and with others, he has concerns about the WTO, he thinks there is aspect of it that are not fair. He thinks that China and others have used it to their own advantage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: It is my understanding that it would take an act of Congress to withdraw from the World Trade Organization. Have you heard talk about this?

CARDIN: We want to strengthen the World Trade Organization in that we want to make sure they cover issues that are obstacles to our manufacturers, producers and farmers. We want them to be more comprehensive and providing opportunities for Americans in the global marketplace.

Right now, they don't protect anywhere near strong enough intellectual property. They have not opened up our -- the international markets to our farmers. I go through additional issues. Not leaving the WTO, it is strengthening what the WTO carries so that it meets the needs of American manufacturers, producers and farmers.

BOLDUAN: We'll see if President Trump's words behind closed doors match up with Mnuchin's or how that works because we have seen how it works before. Senator, thank you so much for coming on and thanks for your strength during this time. Your community needs you. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, we are standing by in Annapolis, Maryland. Any moment we're expecting that police will give everyone an update on that horrific shooting at the "Capital Gazette" left five people dead, others injured, survivors telling about the moments that they did not know if it was going to be all of them, some of them or what was going to happen. We're going to bring you that update when it comes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:28:51]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- dark and I want you to be able to see me. I probably can't see you too well. So, I'll ask you to bear with me. I'll start today by offering the sincere condolences of the Anne Arundel County Police Department to the "Capital Gazette" staff. Much like police, local newspapers become family and their family suffered an un-honorable tragedy yesterday.

Most of the woks that work at the "Capital Gazette" work with us, daily, weekly, we know them. It is not only a loss for them. I want them to know that it is a loss for the Anne Arundel County Police Department and truly it is a loss for the city of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

Our hearts go out to them. We'll be thinking of them as we move forward, and we wish them the best as they try to deal with their grief. I also have to thank a bunch of people, so I'll ask you to bear with me on this.