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Officer Sicknick Suffered Stokes, Died of Natural Causes; U.S. Reels from Multiple Deadly Shootings; Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale Dies at 93; UEFA President Calls Breakaway League Plans "Shameless"; NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Flies on Mars. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 20, 2021 - 04:30   ET



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: With homicide charges related to Sicknick's death.

Of course, there are still looming questions here, the medical examiner has not said if Officer Sicknick had any preexisting conditions or what exactly may have caused the strokes that resulted in his death one day after the Capitol attack. We know that he collapsed in an office later that night, died at the hospital on January 7th.

But now at least one of the medical mysteries has been answered. Officer Sicknick's death was from natural causes, two strokes, and not because of the actions of any of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.

Capitol Police are responding to this saying that they accept the findings but that that they still consider officer Sicknick's death in the line of duty and they say he died courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The United States is reeling from multiple deadly shootings in the last few days and if you include the past month there have been at least 50 mass shootings reported nationwide. It's an all too common tragedy here. CNN's Brian Todd reports on America's gun violence epidemic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first light is in honor of Matthew R. Alexander.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Delivering even more disturbing news in the wake of the mass shooting in their city. Indianapolis police announced that the 19-year-old man who fatally shot eight people at a FedEx facility before killing himself, had purchased the two assault rifles that he used legally in July and September of last year. That, despite the suspect's mother raising concerns to police about his mental state just a few months earlier, and authorities confiscating a shotgun from him.

The Indianapolis police chief told "The New York Times", authorities have not tagged the suspect under the state so called red flag law, which temporarily bans people who are found by a judge to be too dangerous from possessing a firearm.

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: It lets me know that there is a lapse somewhere in the double check system with regards to red flags. And so, if you have an individual who's already their guns confiscated, you know, there needs to be maybe a separate section within the statistical data that these people are now housed so that they can be readily identified and then get lost in the crowd if you will.

TODD (voice-over): This comes as the nation convulses from more gun violence over the weekend, including a 7-year-old girl shot multiple times and killed in a drive-through lane of a McDonald's in Chicago on Sunday.

Three killed, 3 wounded during a shooting at a bar in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

One person killed, and five others, including a 12-year-old wounded by gunfire on Saturday, as they attended a vigil for a shooting victim in Columbus, Ohio.

Six people injured when somebody opened fire at a 12-year-old birthday party in a New Orleans suburb.

All tolled at least 9 dead and several wounded, just in weekend violence in six states.

And since the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16th, there have been at least 50 mass shootings reported in the U.S..

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you have seen people getting killed, I mean, in this last month, it's just been horrifying what's happened. How can you say that's not a public health issue?

TODD (voice-over): What also has health professionals and public officials worried is the idea of Americans simply accepting this kind of mass gun violence.

MAYOR JOE HOGSETT (D), INDIANAPOLIS: We must guard against resignation, or even despair. The assumption that this is simply how it must be, and that we might as well get used to it.

TODD: President Biden has in recent weeks announced some executive actions on gun control, including a measure to eliminate kits that people can buy to build untraceable guns at home. The president also wants to ban assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines and establish stricter background checks for gun purchases. But despite all the mass shootings just since President Biden has been in office there's little appetite among Republicans and even some moderate Democrats in Congress to pass stricter gun control laws.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Two young children who were dropped over a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico have been reunited with their family. Video of the incident got a lot of attention last month. The girls just three and five years old were lowered over the wall by smugglers and dropped on to U.S. soil. Officials in Ecuador had said the girls were in good health. They spent almost three weeks in the custody of U.S. authorities. Their parents live in New York but it's unclear which family members took the girls in.

A champion of liberal policies in the U.S. has died. Coming up, the achievement and legacy of former Vice President Walter Mondale.



CHURCH: Walter Mondale a former U.S. Vice President under Jimmy Carter died on Monday. He was an unapologetic believer in liberal politics and activist government. In the days before his death at the age of 93 he told his staff he knew they would keep up what he called the good fight. Wolf Blitzer reports on Mondale's legacy.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Known all his life as Fritz, Walter Frederick Mondale was born in Southern Minnesota in 1928, the son of a Methodist minister and a music teacher.

WALTER MONDALE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They taught me to work hard, to care for others, to love our country, and to cherish our faith.

BLITZER (voice-over): From the beginning, Walter Mondale was a steadfast supporter of social justice. By the time he graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, he was deeply involved in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota's own wing of the Democratic Party.

As a DFL liberal and a disciple of Senator Hubert Humphrey, Mondale was appointed Minnesota's attorney general in 1960. Four years later, he was named to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left when Humphrey was elected Lyndon Johnson's vice president.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter pulled him from the Senate to be his vice presidential running mate. When Carter and Mondale lost the election in 1980, Mondale was down, but not out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nominee of the Democratic Party, Walter Mondale. BLITZER (voice-over): Four years later, he won the democratic presidential nomination and made history, picking the first woman ever to run on a presidential ticket, former New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro. But history was not on the side of Mondale and Ferraro. They were defeated by the 1984 Reagan landslide.


MONDALE: He has won. We are all Americans. He is our president. And we honor him tonight.

BLITZER (voice-over): Mondale and Ferraro only managed to win his home state and the District of Columbia. Mondale stayed off the national radar until President Clinton named him U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Always one to consider politics an honor and a duty Mondale answered the call to serve again in 2002. He was asked to run for his old Senate seat in place of Senator Paul Wellstone, who had been killed in a plane crash less than two weeks before Election Day.

MONDALE: This has been one of the most unbelievable moments in Minnesota history.

BLITZER (voice-over): Mondale nearly lost the race. But he never lost his earnest love for social justice. He went back to practicing law and teaching at the University of Minnesota. A hall at the law school bears his name, as does the intramural hockey team, the Fighting Mondales. He may have fought doggedly for what he believed in, but supporters described him as such a nice man.

MONDALE: We kept the faith. We stayed the course. We fought the good fight. And every one of us should feel good about that.


CHURCH: And may he rest in peace.

Coming up, a Wright brothers moment on the red planet. Nasa's ingenuity helicopter takes flight on Mars. How they did it and what's next when we come back.



CHURCH: European football is in turmoil after 12 of its most popular clubs signed up for a break away league which threatens to gut the Champions League. In the coming days officials could decide what penalties the super league founder should face. They are among the richest and most powerful clubs in the world. The head of European football's governing body calls their defection shameless, and he was interviewed by CNN contributor Darren Lewis who is in London and joins me now live. Good to see you Darren. So UEFA's president wasn't only furious about this announcement, he felt betrayed. What all did he tell you? DARREN LEWIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Rosemary, he sent out to me that

this is a fight for the future of football as we know it to prevent a cartel of rich men with zero accountability setting up their own private members club and feasting off the fortunes they believe they can rake in.

I mean, Aleksander Ceferin has directed the people running the clubs, not the clubs themselves, in particular a chap called Andrea Agnelli the chairman of the Italian champions Juventus. And he says that he and the Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward had given him assurances that is they would back his plans to reform the Champions League in its previous form, now 32 clubs going to be able to take part. Only for Agnelli in particular to refuse to take his calls and then switch his phone off once details of this controversial super league came out at the weekend. Have a listen to what he had to say.


ALEKSANDER CEFERIN, UEFA PRESIDENT: On Saturday I heard rumors about some super league announcement, I called Agnelli, he says it's a lie, this is not true, don't believe it/ And then he says I will call you in one hour and he doesn't pick up the phone anymore. He even turned it off. And then I felt that something might happen next day.

So we were quite surprised but also the other 235 clubs are quite surprised because their chairman approved something and then ran away and he's still hiding probably somewhere. I don't know where he is.

LEWIS: He must have understand -- have an understanding that you are godfather to his child.

CEFERIN: Yes, this is more a personal thing, and I don't want to enter into this. I just want to say that I thought we are also friends, but I was wrong. But for me it's always better to be naive than to lie all the time. I might be naive.

LEWIS: How confident are you that you that you confront at this place?

CEFERIN: I'm confident we are doing the right thing. and because we are confident, we are doing the right thing, because when you stack the fans, tradition, football. Football community, our society, we will win. In the end we will win.

If 12 people meet wand want to take football as a hostage, just to fill their pockets that are already so full that it's hard to put anything in, they can't win. Long term they can't win. We will win and I'm very proud of the football community, of the society, of the media even which is sometimes rare of politicians who reacted in a fantastic way, Prime Minister of Great Britain, President of France, many Prime Ministers around Europe, European Commission, European Parliament, the reaction of all the society is unanimous. We are united and it's very good because in a way it's good that this happened. Now we know who is who and we have to clear this situation once and for all.

LEWIS: I saw you use the word "snake". Just explain what you mean in that context. CEFERIN: I don't know if it was too emotional expression, but snake

means that you don't know what it's hiding somewhere and then it bites when you don't expect it. So, we didn't know, you know, and it's very hard to believe that somebody looks into your eyes, 20 times and says, everything is fine. It's all a lie, knowing that he is lying.


It's really hard to understand. I was -- I was surprised. I said, before that, you know, I was a criminal lawyer for years. And I have met many tricky people, that I represented, but I would never see something like that. Ethics doesn't exist with these people.

LEWIS: There are lots of cynics out there, Mr. President, and people who think the game was never pure. Why would you see yourself as a better person to run football than a Florentino Perez or the people in charge of the European super league?

CEFERIN: Look, I don't think it's about me or Florentino Perez. I'm a football administrator and I have to know all the time that football is about football players and about fans not about me.

But, you know the first between UEFA and this -- it's hard for me to call it super league because it's all but super. UEFA redistributes 86 to 89 percent of all the money back to the grassroots, to the youth football, to women's football. We have a great foundation for children that helps all around the world. We build the pitches around the world to help children. We are developing football. We are not a profit organization.

And you know, I'm fighting here, but my situation would not change. With this so-called self-proclaimed super league it's all about money, profits, taking money, not sharing with anyone and they don't know anything about solidarity. They are shameless.


LEWIS (on camera): Now Rosemary, what happens next? Well, you may have heard us talking about a chap called Florentino Perez. He's the president of the Spanish champions Real Madrid. He's also the chairman of the super league. He has been talking about players not being banned from UEFA competitions. Ceferin is saying he will meet today -- he is a lawyer himself. He will meet with other lawyers to see if that can happen so that players competing in the super league would not be able to play UEFA competitions. It's going to be even more dramatic. Watch this space.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. He is angry, the fans are angry. We'll see what happens. As you say we will watch the space. Darren Lewis, many thanks. Incredible interview there.

Well, it was a dream come true for NASA engineers. The Ingenuity helicopter rose above the Martian surface Monday and flew. It was short and sweet, but NASA will raise the bar in Ingenuity's next flight. They fully expect the little guy to crash out there but as Michael Holmes shows us right now they are thrilled. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can say that human beings have now flown a rotor craft on another planet.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is the little helicopter with a very big mission. NASA's mini chopper named Ingenuity became the first aircraft to achieve powered controlled flight on another planet.

MIMI AUNG, INGENUITY PROJECT MANAGER, NASA: Beyond this first flight, over the next coming days, we have up to four flights planned and increasingly difficult flights -- challenging flights. And we are going to continually push all the way to the limit of this rotor craft.

HOLMES (voice-over): A short hop that is the combination of many hits and misses. Ingenuity has so survived the frigid Martian nights after separating from the Perseverance Rover, relying on its solar powered batteries to fire up internal heaters. But an initial spin test to its rotors delayed as schedule flight attempt due to problems with the timer.

NASA says the helicopter later successfully completed the tests spinning it blades at 2,400 revolutions per minute. The speed it needs to take off. Scientist say having a bird's eye view of the terrain could revolutionized the way we study new planets.

MICHAEL WATKINS, DIRECTOR, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, NASA: What the Ingenuity team has done, has given us the third dimension. They freed us from the surface now and forever in planetary explorations so that we can now make a combination, a course to our driving on the surface and doing reconnaissance on inaccessible places for our rover.

HOLMES (voice-over): Flying on the red planet presented some difficult engineering challenges, because of the low gravity of Mars and an atmosphere that is one percent the density of earth. NASA engineer sent along a good luck charm attached to Ingenuity is a piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright Brother's flyer which carried the first powered controlled flight on earth.

Michael Holmes, CNN.



CHURCH: Joining me now, Josh Ravich, Ingenuity's mechanical engineering lead at jet propulsion laboratory. And he joins me now. Great to have you with us.



CHURCH: And first of all, congratulations. How does it feel to make history completing the first helicopter flight on Mars?

RAVICH: Thank you so much. You know, I don't know if I fully process the emotions yet, it's been a long day. Maybe tomorrow will be better. But yes, I mean, it feels great. The team has been working for years towards to this moment. And now it's here, so, yeah, I don't know how it can really get too much better.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. I mean, six years in the making. It's incredible, the world got to see images of this historic flight. 180 million miles away, captured on camera by the nearby rover. Showing the nearly 40 second flight, the helicopter hovering about what 10 feet or so, around three meters, then landing and Ingenuities camera captured its own shadow on the surface of Mars. What was the most exciting moments of this history making event for you?

RAVICH: Well, I mean, besides successfully taking off and landing. Actually that shadow was kind of a surprise to us. You know, we flew at, you know, mid-day, I think 12:30 Martian time and you know, we are just amazed. We haven't really seen that shadow in any testing just because, you know, we test indoors or you know, not at the right time of the day. And just to see that there -- it was very shocking and really quite stunning in a way.

CHURCH: And when look at all of those pictures, certainly from the rover, when you're looking at the helicopter and you get that expanse of the surface of Mars, what are you thinking when you look there? What are you looking for?

RAVICH: Gosh, I don't know, I mean it's just -- yes, so vast, it's almost familiar in a way but very different in a way. And to see a lonely little Ingenuity out there by itself. I mean, kind of dwarfed by the landscape. I mean, it's amazing.


CHURCH (on camera): Certainly is. Ingenuity's mechanical engineering lead Josh Ravich speaking to me earlier.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church, "EARLY START" is coming up next. Have yourselves a wonderful day.