Return to Transcripts main page


One Dead in L.A. Hostage Standoff; Hillary Clinton Blasts Trump Russia Actions; Duck Boat Tragedy. Aired 0-0:30a ET

Aired July 22, 2018 - 00:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A hostage standoff in Los Angeles is over. A gunman who barricaded himself inside a grocery store is now in custody. One person was killed.

Plus, a familiar tack from Donald Trump. The U.S. president lashing out again on Twitter at the investigation into Russian election interference.

And a survivor's heartbreak. A mother on the tour boat that sank in a lake in Missouri opens up about losing her family.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.


VANIER: And we begin in Los Angeles, where one woman is dead, killed during a gunman's standoff with police inside a grocery store. This here is the moment that both the suspect and his hostages left the Trader Joe's store at the same time after he kept police at bay for several hours.

Police say the gunman handcuffed himself, walked out, surrendered peacefully. This is when he was apprehended. During the ordeal, one woman was struck by gunfire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I regret to inform you that there is one fatality, that occurred inside, of a woman. We will have details forthcoming. But, of course, family notification and trying to figure out more details, we don't have anything more than that.

But she was pulled out by the police department from the store. Fire department was able to take her, treat her onsite but she was pronounced here onsite.


VANIER: The suspect got his wounds before the standoff. According to police, the incident started when he shot his grandmother and another woman. He fled that scene in his grandmother's car but police then caught up with him. He crashed his vehicle and ran into the grocery store.

One employee talked to CNN about how he and several others managed to escape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't sure if I had a viable exit on the ground floor, so I proceeded upstairs, where we have an upstairs storage space. I moved through the storage space to a back kind of a break room that we have, where we have an emergency ladder.

Grabbed the emergency ladder, proceeded even further back to a back storage area. I grabbed a couple of my co-workers, brought them back as well. I barricaded the hallway as best I could.


VANIER: As CNN's Miguel Marquez was on the scene during the entire incident.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just an incredibly tense several hours here in Los Angeles. One person dead, others shot and possibly could expire as well. All of this at a Trader Joe's, a popular grocery store in Southern California.

This is the remnants of what was a hostage barricade situation. About 1:30 Pacific time in the afternoon, the individual shot his grandmother several times. He took someone else with him, a young woman with him.

Police later in Los Angeles picked him up and started following him. They were in literally hot pursuit when the young man crashed into a pole outside this Trader Joe's with a gun in hand, starts running in, exchanges gunfire with police. That's when somebody inside the Trader Joe's, a young woman, was hit.

Police followed him in, tried to resuscitate her but she expired at the store. And for then several hours, the individual held up in the store, taking hostages at one point and then letting them all go later in the afternoon, surrendering himself to police, asking for a pair of handcuffs, which he handcuffed himself and then turned himself over to police. It has ended -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


VANIER: With us now from Minneapolis is CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore. He a retired supervisory special agent for the FBI.

Steve, based on the information we have at the moment, do you feel the police handled this as well as they could have? STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Cyril, I do. At least once this incident became a hostage situation, they got the hostage negotiator involved. They got him calling. And I know that at the same time they were preparing for an emergency assault if they had to, if they started hearing gunfire inside the place.

But the hostage negotiator was able to get hostages out and get the guy to surrender, which is about the best result you can have.

VANIER: Give us some insights into how you achieve that.

How do you do that?

What do you say to the gunman in a situation like this?

MOORE: The negotiators will try to appeal to that part of reason and rational thinking that is still going on in the person's mind, that this person had shot family --


MOORE: -- members, he had been in a high-speed chase, he shot at cops. He probably felt at that moment that his life was over.

And the hostage negotiator at that point knows that's an incredibly dangerous mindset. So he had to convince this individual that that's not the case, that there was life ahead of him and that he should come out. That's where they're going with that when they get on the phone.

VANIER: And how do you minimize the risk in situations like this of loss of life?

MOORE: You minimize the risk by humanizing the hostages, by talking about them, by having them communicate with the hostage taker, saying, I've got kids, show them pictures of your kids, even if you don't have any. Just anything to make yourself a human being and not just a hostage to the hostage taker.

VANIER: All right. Steve Moore, CNN law enforcement contributor, joining us from Minneapolis. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

U.S. president Donald Trump blasted the Russia investigation again on Twitter on Saturday. Meanwhile, the White House is still being tight- lipped about what actually happened in his summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

We learned from the Russians that U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday. They discussed normalizing relations and also North Korea and Syria.

Lavrov also criticized the arrest of Maria Butina; we've been telling you about her the last few days. She is the Russian woman charged in the U.S. with acting as a foreign agent. Lavrov said the charges are fabricated and she should be released. Mr. Trump started the day on Twitter actually blasting his former

personal attorney, Michael Cohen, but most of the his wrath was directed toward a familiar target. Our Ryan Nobles is traveling with the president.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president is spending the weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

And his Twitter feed was busy on Saturday. He specifically took the opportunity to suggest that the investigation into his campaign's potential ties to the Russian government during the 2016 election could end up having an effect in the election in 2018.

The president tweeting, quote, "No collusion, no obstruction but that doesn't matter because the 13 angry Democrats were only after Republicans and totally protecting Democrats. Want this witch hunt to drag out to the November election. Republicans better get smart fast and expose what they're doing."

Now the president's tweet storm comes against the backdrop of increasing criticism for his decision to have this summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki and subsequently his decision to invite President Putin to Washington sometime this fall.

And there's been a lot of talk about the reaction from the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who was at a security summit in Aspen. Coats learned of the president's invitation during an interview with NBC. And Coats seemed to be a little bit shocked.

Well, Coats attempted to clear the record on Saturday night. He put out a statement that said, quote, "Some press coverage has mischaracterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or to criticize the actions of the president.

"I and the entire intel community are committed to providing the best possible intelligence to inform and support President Trump's ongoing efforts to prevent Russian meddling in our upcoming elections, to build strong relationships internationally in order to maintain peace, denuclearize dangerous regimes and protect our nation and our allies."

You'll note that the Director of National Intelligence makes no mention of whether or not he thinks it is a good idea for President Trump to invite Vladimir Putin to Washington sometime this fall.

But there is certainly one person who thinks that the president's interactions with Russia have not been going very well and that's his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. She had some harsh criticism for President Trump during a festival on Saturday. Take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country. And we saw that most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin. We don't know what was said in the room with just the two of them.


NOBLES: And there's no doubt that we've grown a bit accustomed to President Trump and Hillary Clinton trading barbs long after the 2016 election has been decided. But it's worth pointing out that this is really out of the norm.

Usually, after an election like this, the two sides go to their respective corners and are respectful of the jobs that they have to do after the fact. That's certainly not the case this time around and just one other example of how the Trump administration is unlike any presidency we've ever seen -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, New Jersey.


VANIER: With few exceptions the White House has been quiet about details of the Helsinki summit. But Moscow has filled in some of those blanks and also praised the outcome. Our Sam Kiley has that.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From the Russian perspective, this was a --


KILEY: -- glorious summit in Helsinki and they've controlled the narrative ever since; whereas, in the United States, there's been almost no openness about what went on at that secret meeting between the two presidents. From the Russian side, they are beginning to massage the story very slowly, at the beginning, uncontroversially suggesting the ministry of defense here was preparing for future talks about arms restrictions.

Then they slipped out the idea that there was going to be some kind of cooperation on counterterrorist activities. Nothing controversial there.

Then also cyber coordination in terms of international security. Not without irony, they said it, even in the context of the alleged hacking of the American elections.

Then they went on to suggest that there would be some kind of an agreement or that there has been some kind of an agreement even over the repatriation of 1.7 million Syrian refugees to territory controlled by Syria with Russian allies.

That, of course, under the American administration's construct, is anathema. That is completely off the cards. They would never, at the moment in the United States, consider sending Syrians back into the hands of Bashar al-Assad.

But above all, this has really been about Russia appearing to almost do the public relations for Donald Trump, firstly. And, secondly and superlatively so far, telling the story entirely from the Russian perspective -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.


VANIER: Let's bring in political analyst Bill Schneider. He's the author of "Standoff: How America Became Ungovernable."

Bill, this started off as a really, really bad week for Donald Trump after his meeting with Vladimir Putin. His own party was extremely critical of his performance. He had to backtrack. He had to do damage control. In the end, though, he doubled down. He announced even a second meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Do you think that, as we stand, six days after the meeting, he has now recovered from that?

BILL SCHNEIDER, POLITICAL ANALYST: No. He has not recovered. The administration is still split. You have parts of the administration that's treating Russia as an adversary and an increasingly hostile power.

And you have the President of the United States who's trying to get closer to Mr. Putin, trying to treat Russia, if not as an ally, certainly as a country that he hopes will be friendly.

Well, this is part of the war between the president and the intelligence community. He's defying the intelligence community, who have been warning the president, the country, the Congress about Russia's intentions. This is now almost open warfare.

VANIER: Yes, but the critics within his own party have now muted their criticism. Republicans seem to have accepted his backtracking and his damage control.

SCHNEIDER: Well, elected Republicans have done exactly that because they realize that one thing that Mr. Trump has going for him is the base of the Republican Party. He has converted the Republican Party to his philosophy, which includes a more open attitude toward Russia.

And the result is that any elected Republican in Congress or anywhere, who criticizes the president, who differs with the president, could be targeted by the Trump base, the Trump following in the primary.

And it could endanger their career. They've begun to realize that when they saw their criticisms of Mr. Trump were not being echoed by Republican voters.

VANIER: What do you think about the timing of the second meeting?

Because we don't know exactly when it will happen. There is still even the possibility that it might not happen. But the Kremlin seems to be open to it. The second meeting, scheduled to take place in Washington, is for this fall.

In other words, around the midterm elections. Before, just after, we don't know. The timing of that is going to be really jarring.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. In the midterm election in November -- I think it's November 6th -- the president -- the Republican Party could be handed a big setback partly because of what Democrats are characterizing as a bungled relationship with Russia and a very bad summit.

And that could put the president in a very weak position because it looks like he doesn't really have a strong following in the country and he'll be in a weak position to deal with Russia if it happens after that.

Even before that, every word the president says, every action he takes, every gesture he makes with Mr. Putin by his side, will be scrupulously analyzed and will become fodder in what is certainly to be a very bitter political campaign.

VANIER: But consider this argument, though, the flip side, that this second meeting could actually provide the U.S. president with the opportunity to right this ship, if you will, from the first meeting because he could -- he could deliver a much better performance to the eyes of his critics and he could come across as much harder on Vladimir Putin.

He could say the right words. He might even have things to deliver on some kind of diplomatic deal with the Russian president.

SCHNEIDER: All of those things might happen. But they're --


SCHNEIDER: -- not particularly characteristic of Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump's habit is to double down when he's taken a position. And he appears to have taken a pretty firm position that we want to have better relations with Russia.

We'll see what he does. There's no really confident way to predict what he will do if Mr. Putin actually shows up before the election. But whatever he does, it's going to be an issue in the election.

VANIER: What's your best explanation of why Donald Trump has found it so difficult so far to acknowledge that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election?

And, of course, I know he has done it but that was part of the cleanup. In the moment when it mattered most, standing next to Vladimir Putin, he found it hard to do that.

SCHNEIDER: The answer is what it always is with this president, self- regard. He regards that any insinuation that Russia intervened to help Mr. Trump win the election, which Mr. Putin said he favored when he was asked about it, any indication that Russia helped Mr. Trump makes his election in 2016 look questionable, look illegitimate, possibly.

I don't know any American who's arguing Mr. Trump won solely because of the Russians but it does raise a big question mark over the legitimacy of his election and he simply can't tolerate that.

VANIER: Bill Schneider, as always, pleasure speaking to you. Thank you.


VANIER: Waiting for answers and trying to survive the pain. Missouri survivors are telling their stories of how they escaped the tour boat that sank. That's next.




VANIER: Investigators in the U.S. state of Missouri know the tour boat that sank on Thursday changed its route unexpectedly while it was in the water. Now they want to know exactly when the boat's driver and captain decided to change course, when and why; 17 people died when the vessel capsized during a thunderstorm. The severe weather whipped up powerful waves like these.

Authorities are also looking into what the captain knew about the weather forecast before the boat left its dock. Survivors of the tour boat tragedy are left trying to cope with their heartbreak and painful memories as they wait for answers.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung spoke to one survivor, who lost multiple members of her family, about her ordeal.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, Tia Coleman's story is stunning. She spoke to reporters, emotion still very raw, while she's still in the care of the hospital here in Branson, Missouri.

She shared with us memories of her loved ones' loss, reaction to the devastation she's still processing and she recounted some details of her experience on Thursday evening.


TIA COLEMAN, DUCK BOAT SURVIVOR: I've always loved water. I don't know if it's a Pisces or what. I always loved water, but when that water came over the boat, I didn't know what happened. I had my son right --


COLEMAN: -- next to me. But when the water filled up the boat, I could no longer see. I couldn't feel anybody. I couldn't see.

I just remember I got to get out. I got to get out. And I don't know if somebody pushed me or what happened, but I hit my head on the part of the boat. And when I got out into the water it was ice cold. And I remember as we were going into the water they said that the lake stays pretty warm like in the 80s.

So, I knew from it being so cold that I'm close to the bottom not the top. And I remember kicking and swimming, swimming up to the top and I was swimming I said, Lord please let me get to my babies. I got to get to my babies.

I was kicking. The harder I fought to get to the top. I was getting pulled down. I kept fighting and I kept fighting. I said Lord, if I can't make it, there is no use in keeping me here. And so, I just let go and I started floating.


HARTUNG: Tia says she believes when that boat's salvaged from the lake behind me, that the life jackets will all be on board because she says the crew members never instructed the passengers to put them on.

That boat still under 80 feet of water here. The divers were able to recover the equivalent of a little black box on board. That video recording also believed to have audio. The box has been sent back to a federal office in Washington, D.C., to be processed.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, investigators spent much of the day inspecting a sister vessel provided by the owners of the boat company with the hope that they can familiarize themselves with the configuration of the boat so that when the one sunk at the bottom of this lake is salvaged, they will be able to better understand its working order.

I spoke with the state's attorney general today as well and he pled three different times with the owners of the boat company to cooperate with the investigation -- investigations, I should say, because, as he explained, there are two parallel investigations at this time.


JOSHUA HAWLEY, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: This investigation's in its early stages. There are actually two parallel investigations going on. The NTSB is conducting an investigation into the sinking of the vessel and the circumstances surrounding that immediate event.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is conducting a broader investigation into the circumstances that led to this tragedy beforehand and whether or not this should be treated as a crime scene.

HARTUNG: The U.S. Coast Guard tells us they plan to raise that boat in the next couple of days -- Cyril.


VANIER: That was Kaylee Hartung, reporting there from Missouri.

VANIER: Now we're going to go to China by way of the CNN Weather Center because China's biggest city is facing a major storm and dangerous flooding. (WEATHER REPORT)


VANIER: Awesome pictures also coming out of Paris. Look at this.



VANIER (voice-over): So there is no safety net here. High-wire artist Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga ascended Paris' Montmartre Hill on Saturday, assisted only by live classical music. Some comfort, I guess.

The performance was flawless; 35 meters above the ground. Lucky for her. It ended when she reached the Sacre Coeur Basilica at the top of the Hill. Bongonga says she spent a year preparing for this.


VANIER: That's it from us. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Derek, thank you.

I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us.