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DA: Gunman Barricaded Back Door To "Hunt And Kill" Victims; Shooting Suspect Fired From Government Job Over "Security Concerns"; Separated Child Weeps For Mom During Phone Call; Immigrant Toddlers Forced To Appear In Detention Hearings. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 29, 2018 - 15:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: We are learning more stories of heartbreak and heroism following the shooting rampage at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper. An intern at that paper speaking out about what he witnessed.


ANTHONY MESSENGER, INTERN AND WITNESS, "CAPITAL GAZETTE": Unfortunately, we saw, we had to pass two bodies of our colleagues, which was somebody nobody should ever have to stomach. Just unfortunate that somebody would come into a place that only reports truthful stories that are fact based and unleash hell on the office.

That's never something that crossed my mind when I took the internship that I might see people die, people that were nothing but welcoming and comforting to me. It is a big job to take. I never really had a job at an office yet.

They were accommodating to me, tried to help me write the best stories I could. So, it was unfortunate to see such good-hearted people ultimately suffer such untimely, senseless deaths.


CABRERA: Joining us now to talk more about these victims is Binghui Huang, a former reporter at "The Capital Gazette." Thank you for being here. Thank you for just helping us remember who these people are. You knew several of the victims from this tragedy. How are you holding up?

BINGHUI HUANG, FORMER REPORTER, "CAPITAL GAZETTE": I didn't sleep much last night. I don't think my friends did either and we have been sharing memories of each one of them and sometimes the memories make us laugh, I guess those are the good moments that we have.

[15:35:01] CABRERA: And I want to hear those memories from you. You said working with victim Gerald Fischman, that you never had so much fun working late nights. Why was it so much fun working with him? HUANG: Well, no one wants late night. It goes until 10:00. Your whole day is off, but Gerald is kind of quiet, but he's so smart. He has such a sharp eye and at night his job was to clean up everyone's copy. We were a small paper, a lot of us were young. Stories were really sometimes convoluted.

He would try to make sense of it and crack jokes about how it made no sense. And coming from Gerald, this quiet, sweet dude was hilarious. He would say the sharpest things. And I remember I would see him and the editors rock back and forth in laughter at some of our stories. I'm sure some of them were stories I wrote back in the day.

CABRERA: Oh, my goodness. You also worked with Rob Hiaasen. What do you want people to know about Rob?

HUANG: Yes, oh my God. I loved Rob so much. When I moved off the paper, I was so nervous about telling him that I was going to move on because the paper meant a lot to me, gave me a chance, and he was so supportive, and I was so nervous.

When I told him, I started to cry a little bit. I felt so bad about leaving. And he looked at me and he said you know what, I don't think I want to see you here in another year or two because he knew that I was ready to leave.

And he wanted me to achieve in my career whatever I can, and I was so moved by that because in journalism a lot of times it is about what you can do for the paper, what you can do for the television station, but that was never him. He really cared about us more than our stories, and he cared about our stories so much.

CABRERA: That's huge. That's huge. And you shared a story with us as well, another memory about your car and your keys being locked inside your car and rob sort of came to the rescue. Tell us about that.

HUANG: Oh my God, that's one of my favorite memories of Rob. It showed you how much of a dad he was. I know he talked about his own kids, too, a lot, but it was the one that I experienced with him.

My first day on the education beat, a big deal, big beat for the paper, I lost my car keys. I was running late to my first assignment. I was panicking. And Rob just got up, without thinking, was like I'm taking you.

He was driving, and I was so nervous, you could sense it. He said if you don't want to go to assignment, I have a full tank of gas, we can go to Canada. In that moment I felt so relieved, you know, like I didn't feel as nervous any more.

And I went to the assignment and he waited in the car as I did the interview, like he was like my dad and I was like a piano lesson or something, and when it was done, you know, he took me back. And he was my editor. It was such a bizarre experience because editors don't shepherd you to assignments, but he did, you know. CABRERA: That really touches me, too, knowing what a crazy world ours is as journalists and how busy it is in the news room, so easy to be laser focused on your story and deadline. To hear just how thoughtful, compassionate he was, how much you describe him caring for his fellow employees and co-workers. I know you didn't know John McNamara well, but you remember him as well?

HUANG: Yes. I remember John and you know, the thing most reporters will tell you this, the sports desk is always somewhat removed from everybody else and sometimes you can go months without knowing the name of any of the sports reporters.

But I knew John because he always made a point to say hi and, you know, just the fact that I knew his name says a lot about how he reached out to everybody in the newsroom. My one memory of him, I remember reading in a story about him what his wife said.

He was dedicated to journalism and dedicated to me. One thing we all remember about John is he had a picture of his wife, facing the rest of the newsroom so we could all see. I think about how much she must have meant to him, you know.

CABRERA: Yep. Thank you so much, Binghui Huang, for sharing your memories with us and helping us to lift up these individuals. Really great to have you with us. Sending you my best.

HUANG: Thank you for having me.

CABRERA: Up next, an immigration attorney is going to explain how her five-year-old client is facing deportation proceedings alone and this child doesn't even know what country she's from, can only draw pictures of the gang members her family is fleeing. That attorney is going to join us live in moments.



CABRERA: Welcome back. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. There is more evidence documenting the emotional pain and suffering thousands of migrant children are enduring, waiting to be reunited with their families.

You're about to hear a phone conversation obtained by "Vice News" between a weeping seven-year-old boy and his mother who is trying to console him from her home in Guatemala. The child traveled to the U.S. border with his father where they were both detained and separated.



CABRERA: That boy who you mostly heard through his sobs is in a U.S. immigration shelter, crossed the border a month ago, still hasn't spoken to his father. It took a month or more, but another child was reunited with his mom today at Washington's Dulles International Airport.

The mother was apparently seeking asylum from their native El Salvador. She had been detained in Colorado. Her son was in Miami and right now, there are still more than 2,000 children in custody of the U.S. government, who have separated from their parents.

Illinois SEN. Dick Durbin chided the Trump administration for not having what he calls a clear reunification plan.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: When it comes to reunification, there wasn't a word about it in the president's executive order. As we listen to them today, doesn't sound like they have any plan whatsoever.


CABRERA: Many of these children, some of them are toddlers, are starting to appear at deportation hearings by themselves.

With me now is Laura Barrera, an immigration attorney, who represents some of these minors. Thank you, Laura, for being here.

I understand you represent a 5-year-old having to go through the immigration courts without a parent or guardian. How do you begin to approach this?

LAURA BARRERA, REPRESENTS MIGRANT CHILDREN SEPARATED FROM PARENTS: Well, it's definitely different handling children's cases like this. We have to use different techniques to get their stories. So, with that child, we will draw pictures. But again, because they're children, we'll go from drawing a picture of gang members that wait outside her school to suddenly her drawing a picture of ice cream, telling me about the man who was down the street and sold ice cream.

You know, because they're kids. So, it can be really difficult in that way. Then they're expected to represent themselves in court if they can't pay for an attorney, which many of them can't because they're children and there aren't enough free legal services like me to represent all of the kids that need attorneys.

CABRERA: So, are some of these children having to go through the process? Because as you point out, there is no guarantee of any kind of legal representation for immigrants. Are these children at times having to do without somebody like you at their side?

BARRERA: Yes. Absolutely. That's the policy. It has been affirmed by courts that although they have the right to get an attorney, even children will not have an attorney appointed to them. If they can't afford one, they will not have one.

The immigration system is incredibly complex. It is difficult for even adults to understand. It is just absurd to think that kids are going to understand that. They're not. They often don't know what country they're from. You know, one of my clients, I asked her about the gang that's persecuting her. One of the things she said is that they're magic. These are children. I'm glad some light is shed on this issue because people I think are starting to understand how ridiculous the system is.

It's not due process to put a child in immigration court and expect them to be able to represent themselves.

CABRERA: What is it like in that court proceeding then with a judge trying to interact with a child as young as five or potentially even younger who may not be able to verbalize what has been going on in their lives and why they ended up in the United States?

BARRERA: Well, I mean, it is really difficult. It depends on the judge. I know they'll try to explain to the child what their rights are and how to seek asylum, but you know, with kids being five or even younger, some kids taken even if they say in court, yes, I understand.

They don't understand. We can't expect them to understand. And this is the only kind of procedure in the United States where we don't think about what is in the best interest of the child.

[15:50:07] We just put them in court and expect them to deal with the same processes that we expect adults to deal with. And that is not OK.

CABRERA: We're just learning new information that the Trump administration is working on a new regulation that could restrict immigrants from asking or seeking asylum if an immigrant has been convicted of illegally entering the U.S. sources tell CNN, they would be banned from seeking asylum. What is your reaction to that?

BARRERA: Well, I mean -- it is unreasonable for a couple of reasons. First, at ports of entry, people are being denied the ability to ask for asylum. They are showing up day after day and asking for asylum and refused entry at the border.

And so, there are people who are trying to do it that way and the border patrol is making that impossible. And then second, a lot of people don't -- when they are in their home country and fleeing persecution, they are fleeing death threats, they don't know the correct process to do it.

Sometimes people cross the border illegally and then present themselves to a border guard and ask for asylum and they don't know that is not the way Jeff Sessions wants them to do it.

But it doesn't make their fear any less valid and we have obligations under international treaties to protect people who are fleeing persecution. So, I think -- that would be devastating.

CABRERA: Laura Barrera, thank you for being here and shedding some light. We appreciate it.

BARRERA: Thank you. CABRERA: Still ahead, one of President Trump's political appointees working behind the scenes to soften language about fighting racism and hate speech. We'll have that exclusive CNN reporting for you.

But first, we want to take to introduce you to this week's CNN Hero. When Luke Nicholson learned that kids in his community were sleeping on the floor, he went from businessman to bed maker. And what started as a single good deed helping one family, spread to helping 3,000 children.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just a farm kid from Idaho. I grew up here. What I didn't know is there was kids next door who are struggling. I have kids sleeping on the floor. I was making a six-figure salary, but I shell into this need that I discovered wasn't being fulfilled by anybody.

I quit my job because I wanted to do this full time. The need I have isn't financial. The need I have is seeing the joy on kids' faces knowing that I could make a difference.


CABRERA: To watch Luke's team deliver beds to a family, go to, and nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero.



CABRERA: This was a case that dominated the headlines ten years ago. The 2-year-old Caylee Anthony vanished from her Orlando home only to be found dead months later in a Florida swamp. To the surprise of many her now infamous mother, Casey Anthony was later acquitted in her daughter's death and tomorrow night in a new CNN special report, our Randi Kaye travels back to Orlando in search of answers.


DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, CAYLEE ANTHONY CASE: When you look back at something, you have a better perspective and looking back ten years, I realize that what I was most appalled with the case was --


GARAVAGLIA: -- this lack of the truth.

BAEZ: You are the ultimate deciders of what the facts are.

GARAVAGLIA: In a way, Jose Baez before Trump came along was Trumpian.

BAEZ: This is not a murder case.

GARAVAGLIA: If you say it loud enough and often enough --

BAEZ: There is no evidence of any murder in this case.

GARAVAGLIA: -- people start believing you.

BAEZ: This is not a murder case. This was an accident that snowballed out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally think there was an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't buy it for a second. But there was room for that argument because with her remains and the condition they were you couldn't exactly tell how she died.


CABRERA: Randi Kaye joins us now to discuss her new special report. I can't believe it has been ten years since her death and then seven years since her acquittal.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can't believe it either because I covered the case ten years ago. So, I interviewed the parents and mom when they were still looking for little Caylee. So, it is pretty remarkable.

But Casey, though, these days, her mom and she's trying to live as normal of a life, living in West Palm Beach Florida, couple of hours south of Orlando where this occurred. She lives with an investigator who worked for the case -- who worked on her defense team and was pretty important to the case.

She does some filing for him and clerical work. We're told that she goes out for a run in the morning, her neighbors don't see her much. She doesn't say much. But she did give one interview in all of the years to the "Associated Press," where she talked about this case.

And that was an interesting interview because she actually said she doesn't care what anybody thinks of her. She didn't put it that delicately and she sleeps pretty well at night, which as you could imagine, Ana, probably surprises a lot of people that she sleeps well.

CABRERA: As a mother, myself. If I lost my child, my child was killed, I don't know how I could ever sleep well.

KAYE: Right, right. And her life -- it is obviously anything but normal. She barely speaks to her mom and doesn't speak to her father and a lot of people still think that she committed murder.

CABRERA: Looking forward to seeing your special. Randi Kaye, thank you so much. Don't miss it. CNN Special Report, "Casey Anthony and The Summer Of Lies," tomorrow night at 8 Eastern here on CNN. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.