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Ten Killed in Mass Shooting at Colorado Grocery Store; White House Facing New Challenges in Race to Vaccinate America; Futures Mixed Ahead of Powell Testimony on Capitol Hill. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 23, 2021 - 09:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Poppy Harlow. Jim Sciutto is off this week.

And this morning, we wake up as a nation stunned by the seventh mass shooting in the United States in the last seven days. Ten of our fellow Americans are dead this morning after a gunman opened fire inside of a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went in the store. Oh, my god. Guys, we've got people down inside King Soopers. Look. There's -- holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


HARLOW: Boulder Police have a suspect in custody. They have not said what the motive is yet. One senior law enforcement official tells CNN the weapon used in this mass shooting was an AR-15 style rifle. Again, this marks the seventh mass shooting in seven days in America, the second mass shooting with multiple deaths in a week in this country. The sixth mass shooting with four or more deaths in America just this year.

We will hear from police in a press conference next hour with an update on this investigation ad this massacre that leaves another community reeling.


SARAH MOONSHADOW, SHOOTING WITNESS: When we had gotten out of the store, there were people laying in the street. I tried to run for him and my son pulled me back and said that we had to get away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire building is surrounded. I need you to surrender now.

NEVEN SLOAN, WITNESS: Bang, bang, bang. And I immediately sprinted over to her. We've got to get out of here. Like I pushed open the emergency door.

RYAN BOROWSKI, WITNESS: This feels like the safest spot in America and I just nearly got killed for getting a soda, you know, and a bag of chips.

CHIEF MARIS HEROLD, BOULDER POLICE: Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific incident.


HARLOW: Can you imagine hearing about a shooting in your neighborhood or seeing the livestream of it because there was one yesterday? Getting in your car and racing to the parking lot of your local grocery store and it is filled with ambulances, and you're scrambling to find anyone who will tell you if your loved one was shot, if they're OK, if they are among the 10 dead? That happened last night to our fellow Americans, and it keeps happening.


MOONSHADOW: I just looked at my son and I told him in between shots that, by the fourth shot, I started counting. And I told him, we have three seconds. Stay low and don't look and just move fast and he almost hesitated, and I just told him, we don't have another option. We don't have any more -- any other chance to get out of here.


HARLOW: Can you imagine being a mother saying that to your child? In 2020, America saw the smallest number of mass killings in more than a decade as COVID kept people home. But already this year, it appears America is back to its haunting reality of mass shooting after mass shooting.

We are still waiting to learn the names of the other victims. What we do know is the first officer to arrive on the scene, 51-year-old Eric Talley, was killed. He was the father of seven children. His youngest child just 7 years old. We'll tell you much more about him in a moment.

Let's go to our Dan Simon. He begins our coverage in Boulder, Colorado, this morning.

Dan, police will give an update in about 90 minutes. What can you tell us so far?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Poppy. So much shock and sadness as people here in Boulder are dealing with another mass shooting. You know, first, you had Columbine. Then you had Aurora. Now you have Boulder. And a lot of questions about what happened, why did the shooter go into this grocery store and start shooting people, seemingly at random.

At this point, police have not disclosed the name of the suspect. They have not provided any operating theories as to why he went into that grocery store and started shooting at people. We do know that, of course, you had all those folks inside the grocery store running for cover. Some running towards the back of the store. Some jumping off of loading docks to get to safety. Others going to the second floor of the building trying to hide in a coat closet before they got the all clear.

We do know that authorities have scheduled a news conference happening next hour where we hope to learn new information about the suspect and the victims. Again, 10 victims in all -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Dan Simon, thank you for being there.


Let me bring in now Anna Haynes. She was looking out of her window when she saw a man shoot someone on a ramp into the grocery store. She's also the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at the University of Colorado Boulder, the "CU Independent."

Anna, thank you for being here. I'm so sorry that you have to, again, bear witness to another mass shooting in America. Can you tell me what you saw?

ANNA HAYNES, WITNESSED SHOOTING IN BOULDER, COLORADO: Yes, thank you for having me. So we live, my roommate and I live in an apartment directly across from the King Soopers so we can see the entire front of the store from out our living room window. I initially heard maybe 10 gunshots. I didn't realize that they were gunshots. I have never been around guns so I assumed it was a firework or a car engine failing.

And I looked outside my window expecting to see something like that. But instead, I saw a body in the middle of the parking lot. I knew that it was a dead body because they had brought a body bag a few minutes later when the police came. And I also saw the gunman himself holding a semiautomatic rifle. He was on the handicap rail to the entrance of the store. And he, on his way to the entrance, had turned around and was shooting rapid fire at one particular target.

I couldn't see what he was shooting at, but I'm fairly sure it was a person. And then he turned around. He entered the building through the handicap entrance, and a few seconds later, I saw people running out of the building. I heard screaming. I heard people leaving in their cars and it just devolved into chaos within just a couple of minutes.

HARLOW: Anna, could you tell what he was wearing? Was he wearing anything that appeared to be body armor?

HAYNES: I couldn't tell from where I was. He was wearing clothing, which is different from when they took out suspects. He was fully clothed. He was wearing a heavy jacket. It could have been tactical armor, but I couldn't say for sure.

HARLOW: OK. You said you froze when you were calling out to your roommate and that, you know, you didn't think that this would be a shooting, right? It's like a popped tire or a car engine going off. And I wonder if that's because, to be honest, because of COVID in 2020, this country has had a bit of a reprieve in the horror of the mass shootings that we usually have every year because many people stayed home.

Well, now, as the country opens up, look what we're already seeing in 2021. I just wonder how you think about that, especially as, you know, a member of, and the editor of the school newspaper.

HAYNES: Yes, I mean, we've definitely at the paper been only focused on COVID for over a year and the possibility of a mass for once in my life living in the U.S. has sort of left my mind. We also live, and other people have said this, but we live in what many people consider a very safe area. Not only is Boulder overall considered a safe place, but this is a safe neighborhood.

I've never felt endangered in this neighborhood ever. It's quiet. There's -- I just always felt safe. And that was taken from me yesterday and taken from everybody in this community.

HARLOW: That you're not safe anywhere, right? Is that what you're saying?


HARLOW: I'm sorry, Anna. I wish there were more that we could all do. There is more that can be done, and we'll talk about that ahead. Thank you for being here this morning.

HAYNES: Yes, thank you.

HARLOW: So let's talk about the victims. We're still waiting for the names of nine of the 10 people killed in the massacre, but we do know one name. And that is Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. He was the first officer, the first one to race to the scene to respond after the reports came in of an armed man inside of that grocery store in Boulder. His father says he's not surprised that his son Eric was the first officer there.

Officer Talley was a husband. He was the father of seven children. According to his own dad, he loved his family more than anything. His youngest child is only 7 years old. His father also described Officer Talley as being a prankster with a great sense of humor, and that he had recently been looking into trying to change jobs to become a drone operator because he thought it would be more safe.


Officer Talley was a member of the Boulder Police Force since 2010. He is the first officer from the department to be killed in the line of duty since 1994. Officer Eric Talley was only 51 years old.

Let me bring in former Philadelphia police commissioner, CNN law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey.

You've led so many brave men and women like Officer Talley. Your thoughts this morning as we know that he lost his life, the only named victim so far. CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's very tragic,

obviously, no question about that. Leaving behind seven children, a wife, extended family. You know, it's sad. And it's going to become even sadder once we learn the identities of the other victims because they all had families as well. And so that's a loss that just can't be made up at all. That's a hole that will be in their hearts forever. And that's the tragedy of things like this when they do occur. But the officer did what he was trained to do.

I mean, you go to the scene. You respond. And you go in. I mean, we learn that lesson from Columbine. You cannot wait for SWAT teams. I don't know if he was shot inside or outside, but he did what he was trained to do.

HARLOW: You run toward what every -- almost everyone else would run away from. Can you speak to what is the grueling task that they have gone through now and continue to go through, which is the gathering of evidence?

RAMSEY: Well, it's going to take time to process that scene. It's a large building. You have 10 victims. Of course, you have an indoor scene and an outdoor scene apparently. The shooter is alive, which means there will be a trial. So they're going to be very meticulous in going through that scene because If he's charged, let's say, with 10 counts of murder, each count is going to have its own evidence that's collected to prove that this individual is responsible for that particular death.

So there's going to be no rush at all. That scene is going to be held for a long period of time until it's thoroughly been canvassed and evidence collected.

HARLOW: Would you expect that we will learn the names of the nine other people killed at the press conference in just about an hour?

RAMSEY: It depends on how successful they've been in reaching next of kin. Normally when you reach next of kin, you give them some time to be able to reach out to extended family that may not be in the Boulder area. They could be in other parts of the world or other parts of the country, certainly. No one should see this sort of thing on TV, and this is a high-profile case. It's got national attention, probably international attention.

So you give them time to reach out best they can. So, you know, I don't know if an hour from now you'll get the names or not.

HARLOW: What would your biggest question be to investigators today?

RAMSEY: Well, now is the time to start dissecting the shooter, you know. Have a executed a search warrant at his home or apartment, vehicle? Have they found anything. What does his social media look like? Those kinds of things.

Now if they haven't done a lot of that, they won't even name the suspect yet because what they don't want is to get a gaggle of media or other interested or, you know, parties that show up at the guy's apartment or house or at a relatively house because they still have to interview these people and they still have to process those scenes as well.

So whether or not they actually reveal the identity of the shooter will depend on how far they've been able to go overnight and early morning.

HARLOW: Charles Ramsey, I appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you so much.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Still to come, this mass shooting adding to the list of Colorado's history of them. We will speak with the attorney general of Colorado ahead.

Also, a former attorney for former President Trump, Sidney Powell, pushed baseless fraud claims about the 2020 election. Now she is mounting her own legal defense saying reasonable people would not have even believed her claims as fact. Will that defense actually stand?

And drug maker AstraZeneca says it is confident in its vaccine after an independent board yesterday expressed concern that data from the company's vaccine trial may have been outdated and incomplete. We'll get reaction from the White House on that, ahead.



HARLOW: Welcome back. Next hour, Boulder police will hold a press conference with the latest information on the investigation. Whatever they can tell us after this gunman killed ten people in this supermarket yesterday afternoon. The suspect we know is in custody. Authorities so far haven't shared information on any possible motive here.

This is just the latest in a long, tragic list of mass shootings. Of course, Columbine High School, that shooting in 1999 that killed 13 people, 12 students and 1 teacher. In 2007, a gunman walked into the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and killed four people and injured five.

The Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 where 12 people were killed and 70 injured. The shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015 that left three people dead and nine injured. And the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting where one person was killed and eight others injured. Look at that list.


Joining me now is Colorado's Attorney General Phil Weiser. Mr. Attorney General, thank you very much. We'll get to your reaction --

PHIL WEISER, COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right -- HARLOW: To the spate of mass shootings in your state in a moment. But

is there any update you can share on this investigation with us this morning?

WEISER: At this point, the authorities are still conducting the investigation, and they're being deliberate about what information they're able to release. As your police analyst noted earlier, there's obviously sensitivities here. So, at this point, nothing new that can be shared other than I can say for the families out there being notified, my heart's breaking for you.

HARLOW: Yes, of course. You know, when you talk about the city of Boulder specifically, something happened in Boulder when it comes to the city council that just a few years ago, 2018, passed two laws that banned possession of assault weapons and large capacity magazines. This is after the Parkland school shooting. But just a week and a half ago, a district county judge in Boulder ruled they can't enforce that. What do you think the impact of not being able to enforce that will be on the city of Boulder and your state?

WEISER: I'll offer a little context here. As you've noted, we've had more than our share of gun violence. Tragedies that leave deep wounds, that never really heal. We've taken a number of gun safety measures, a background check that is something we need at the federal level, we have a large magazine capacity advance, something our office defended in court successfully.

And we now also have a red flag law so that we can remove firearms from people who are at significant risk to themselves or others. The Boulder municipal ordinance actually involved an issue about authority of local governments to enact such laws. It was here in Boulder.

That was decided by the district court judge, the city of Boulder will have to decide whether they're going to appeal that. I do think there's going to be a continuing discussion about what smart gun safety protections look like. We from Colorado have been having that now unfortunately for 20 years since Columbine, because we have to keep learning. What else can we do to keep people safe --


WEISER: To prevent gun violence.

HARLOW: Can we talk about some of those other things that you rightly bring up because, if you look at the Giffords Law Center, of course, appropriately named in honor of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was shot in front of a supermarket herself, they give Colorado a C-plus when it comes to gun ratings in terms of strict gun control measures.

And they list the things that you did that are controls that Colorado has, but what the state doesn't have is waiting periods, for example, for all gun sales. They don't require lost or stolen guns to be reported, and the legislature is currently debating this law that would require people to store guns in safes and require licensed gun dealers to provide locking devices when they sell or transfer a firearm. How big of a difference could things like that make in your state?

WEISER: We have to keep looking based upon what we learn, what makes sense. The issues around safe gun storage is something our office has taken up, we're getting the word out. That tends to be more about people having guns stolen from cars, often, it's young people who might get a weapon and take their own lives, something that we're seeing here in Colorado, it's the number one cause of death. In this case, it doesn't -- we don't know enough to know what the basis was.

And so, we've got to keep learning and keep responding with measures that are data-driven, that are effective. And Colorado's legislature is looking at measures this Spring like the one you talked about where you require stolen weapons to be reported.

HARLOW: Right --

WEISER: This is something we're committed to here in Colorado and we've been working on it and unfortunately, this is a reminder that we still have work to do.

HARLOW: The Biden White House said just last month that it will not wait for the next mass shooting to take action. But here we are, the morning after the next mass casualty, mass shooting in America. What action do you need from the Biden White House?

WEISER: We in Colorado have a background check law. But if people go to surrounding states, they can get a weapon without having a background check. That is a common sense measure that's supported by overwhelming majorities.

The fact that we didn't get such a law after prior mass shootings is hard to understand. We need a federal law. I know that our members of Congress from Colorado have run on this issue, are committed to this issue. We need a national background check law because otherwise people can go to surrounding states and get a weapon without having to go through a background check which makes sense.

HARLOW: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, thank you for being with me. And I am so sorry that this happened again in your state.

WEISER: Thank you.


HARLOW: Ahead, new challenges in a race to vaccinate America. We will speak with the leading member of the president's COVID advisory board about where things stand and his biggest concerns. Ahead, taking a look at Wall Street, we're also moments away from the opening bell here.

Futures pretty mixed here this morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify today on Capitol Hill alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. They will discuss the response of part of the COVID pandemic, the economic impact of all of it. And investors will be watching to see what they have to say about the economy reopening, about unemployment and, of course, inflation. We'll keep an eye on all of it.