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CNN NEWSROOM

Biden Calls for Stricker Gun Laws After Colorado Mass Shooting; Interview with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) on Boulder Mass Shooting; Boulder Police Chief Says Officer Talley Was a Kind Man, Father of Seven; Suspect Charged with 10 Counts of First-Degree Murder; Review Board Raises Concern AstraZeneca May Have Included Outdated Data in Its Trial Findings. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 23, 2021 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): Yes, it's a hundred percent but it's not just me, Brooke, it's not just me, it's the young people and the families and the families in Parkland I've gotten to know. And the families from around the country that I've gotten to know.

All you need to do is spend time listening to them talk about the hole in their lives and how that hole will never be filled. And here's a chance for them to do something to prevent other families from ever having to experience that. That's a pretty compelling message, and I'm happy to give it. But there are so many people, including my colleague and friend, Lucy McBath, who experienced this awful pain herself, whose voices need to be listened to. They just need to be heard.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: She lost her son, Jordan, because he was playing his music too loud in a parking lot. We're going to hopefully talk to her later this week. But for now Congressman Ted Deutch, thank you very much.

DEUTCH: Brooke and thank you. And Brooke, thanks for always, always focusing on this issue and the ability for us to try to come together to solve it and to save lives.

BALDWIN: I appreciate that. I appreciate that very much. Congressman Ted Deutch, thank you.

We are learning more information about the victims of this shooting. One of the ten killed. The police officer here being described as a hero. He was the first officer on the scene, the father of seven. We'll tell you what more we know about him.

And an independent review board raises concerns about AstraZeneca's recent announcement on its own U.S. vaccine trial. Those details next.

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[15:35:00]

BALDWIN: At a press conference today, authorities in Colorado released the names of all of those killed in the shooting. And the victims range in age all the way from 20 years of age to 65. Many were running routine errands when the shots rang out. CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now. And Stephanie, just tell me about who these people were.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and you know, we just got their names today, Brooke, and so we're starting to learn more and more about these individuals who lost their lives on what should have been just a normal average Monday.

Let's start off by talking about that one police officer that we know lost his life. Officer Eric Talley who responded just within minutes of the 911 call that there were shots being fired. Ran in to help people and lost his life. The Police Chief of the Boulder Police Department speaking very highly of him and the kind of man he was. Take a listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF MARIS HEROLD, BOULDER, COLORADO POLICE: Officer Talley taught CPR. He taught his family CPR. And Officer Talley, one of his sons swallowed a quarter, and because Officer Talley taught his children CPR, one of his sons was able to save the little boy's life. And so the Boulder Police Department just gave the son an award for life saving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ELAM (on camera): And she was emotional while she did talk about this police officer. She also made it very clear this is also her community where she lives, very close to where the shooting happened. So, impacting people deeply.

She said he was a caring man, he cared about his police officers, he cared about his family, about his community, and that he didn't have to be a police officer. That he had a career before this and became a police officer at the age of 40 in 2010, and was recently -- according to his father, Homer, and telling our affiliate, KUSA -- looking to change, to becoming a drone operator because he wanted to do something that was a little bit safer.

Considering also that he's now leaving behind his wife and seven children. So, just a devastating loss there. His police cruiser is now parked in front of the police station as a memorial to him right now. And people have been putting flowers out there. We can see that, as you take a look at that picture there, remembering this man who by all accounts, was described as a hero.

And one other person that we're learning a bit about today too is Rikki Olds. She was 25-years-old, and she was a front-end manager inside of the grocery store, the King Soopers there in Boulder. Her uncle confirming to CNN that she did, in fact, die. He said that she was just a very individual -- described her as an independent young woman who lived by herself and was raised by her grandparents. He went on to say that she was energetic and charismatic and also said that she was, quote, a shining light in this dark world -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Our hearts are going out to all of these families and this community. Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for just getting some details of these folks.

Boulder's Police Chief has called the shooting, quote, very complex, with the investigation taking days to complete. We'll talk about the questions authorities, specifically including the FBI, are trying to answer now.

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[15:40:00]

BALDWIN: We are back with our coverage of this massacre in Boulder, Colorado. A gunman killing ten people inside this Boulder grocery store. The 21-year-old suspect apprehended by police, was shot in the leg, now in jail charged with ten counts, ten counts of first-degree murder.

The suspect's brother says he believes his brother was mentally ill, was bullied in high school for being Muslim. This is the seventh mass shooting in seven days in the United States. And Chris Swecker is a former FBI Assistant Director for the Criminal investigative Division. So Chris, welcome, sir, a pleasure.

You know, we're sitting here, and we think about the ten families now mourning the loss of their loved ones today, wondering how and why this happened. How will investigators get them the answers they deserve?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Yes, Brooke, this is an all too common occurrence in this country. The law enforcement agencies are going to partner up with the FBI.

They're going to build out a profile of this person. They're going to look at all his social media, all his computer, laptop, electronic evidence of every variety and just figure out a motivation. They always wanted to find that out. Was mental illness a factor? Did anyone help him get his hands on this weapon?

[15:45:03]

Was he eligible to get a weapon or did someone help him? We find that in many cases, someone assisted them and they're chargeable. So they're processing the crime scene. That's very complicated. It can be. You have to trade -- pullout all the lead out of the walls, follow the bullet trajectories, how many rounds were fired, et cetera, and match it with the weapon.

BALDWIN: So, as they are certainly now, you know, that tedious process is ongoing, we're getting a little bit, Chris, about the suspect from his brother. He told CNN that his family immigrated from Syria about ten years ago, that his brother, as I mentioned, might be suffering mental illness, that he was bullied in high school for being Muslim. Certainly, no justification for, you know, killing anyone, but does

that even factor into the investigation? How would that?

SWECKER: Well, it does factor into the investigation from a motive perspective. I mean he's charged with ten counts of murder, first- degree murder. That's an intent crime. They have to prove the intent. Motivation is relative to that.

That could be possibly a defense. You know, he's going to get probably a public defender. They're going to look at every angle. Mental illness always seems to come into play with these mass shootings. We've seen it in the university and high school setting, bullying has been a factor, but it hasn't been much of a mitigating factor when it comes to trying to get somebody off.

BALDWIN: I'm just left thinking of, you know, you think of all these victims, specifically this police officer in Boulder, Eric Talley, right, he first officer on the scene, father of seven, wanted to go be a drone officer, a drone pilot because it would take him out of harm's way. But, you know, he was trained. I know officers, you know, FBI, you're trained for this, to put your life on the line. Have you been in a situation like this when your instinct kicks in? How does someone make a snap decision to run toward the thing that everyone else is running away from?

SWECKER: You know, that's law enforcement training. It's instinctive. I mean Parkland notwithstanding. 99.9 percent of police officers will go straight to the sound of gunfire. They're trained now to take that shooter out, to distract the shooter and stop the killing. So, that's the protocol now. We've come a long way since Columbine. Even if they're alone, even if they're outnumbered, you're going to see police officers run to the sound of gunfire.

It's a shame they have to go up against an AK-47 or an assault rifle. I can't do this segment without mentioning that the International Association of Chiefs of Police has come out against assault weapons.

BALDWIN: And you heard the president, you know, saying as much today. It's really up to, as we've been having these conversations, two bills passed in the House. It's up for the Senate to act. Chris Swecker, thank you very much.

SWECKER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Also today, new developments in the coronavirus pandemic. Will the White House reach its goal, enough vaccine doses for all Americans by the end of May?

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[15:50:00]

BALDWIN: A potential setback for drug maker AstraZeneca's plan to get its COVID vaccine approved in the U.S. on its current timeline. An independent review board says AstraZeneca may have used outdated information in its announcement on the findings of its U.S.-based vaccine trial.

Meantime as more and more Americans are getting the shots in arms, right, trouble could be brewing for Johnson & Johnson over when it will deliver those 20 million single-dose vaccines.

CNN's Nick Watt has more on today's COVID-19 headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One in four Americans have now had at least one vaccine dose.

DWAYNE STEWART, MILWAUKEE RESIDENT: It's been a horrible year. I will remember this year for the rest of my life.

WATT (voice over): But it's not over. The road to herd immunity long and winding. Yesterday AstraZeneca celebrated results from its vaccine trials. Today pushing back and promising to share their primary analysis with the review board that raised concern the company may have used some outdated information in a press release.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, BIDEN CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: This is really what you call an unforced error because the fact is this is very likely a very good vaccine.

ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER ON COVID-19 RESPONSE: The public should rest assured that nothing will get approved unless the FDA does a thorough analysis of this data.

WATT (voice over): And with the three vaccines already authorized, the White House still confident of reaching its goal, enough doses for all by end of May, although Johnson & Johnson now has just eight days to meet its goal of 20 million doses delivered by end of March.

SLAVITT: The company reiterated publicly that they are on target. They have a big production week ahead.

WATT (voice over): Within hours of that statement, a source told CNN that J&J will only get about halfway to 20 million by month's end. Meantime, the average daily death toll in the U.S. just dropped below 1,000 for the first time in nearly five months. But the country's average new case count still stuck at over 50,000 a day.

FAUCI: That's not good. They should keep going down and down. When the plateau like that, there really is a danger of a resurgence.

WATT (voice over): And with time, tiredness and vaccines, our guard is slipping. Nearly half of Americans, according to one poll, went out to eat in the past week.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[15:55:00]

WATT (on camera): And some new vaccine numbers, and they are good. The White House says they have 27 million doses to allocate this week. You know, the day will come when supply meets demand, not yet, but it will come.

A good sign for Monday, Texas is going to open vaccine eligibility to every adult in the state -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Oh, I needed something to smile about today. Nick Watt, thank you for that. Thank you.

And a reminder to all of us. Please tune in from this unprecedented event with Dr. Sanjay Gupta this weekend. The medical leaders of the war on COVID will be speaking out here on CNN so tune in Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern.

After the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than a week the White House is considering executive action. What President Biden could do to strengthen our nation's gun laws.

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