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Nine Arrests In Police Standoff With Armed Group In Massachusetts Town; Emergency Order Issued To Demolish Remaining Structure; TSA: Pandemic Record 2.2M Travelers Screened at Airports Friday; CDC: COVID Cases Up 10 Percent As "Hyper Transmissible" Variant Spreads; Massachusetts Police Update Armed Standoff On I-95; Capitol Rioter Visits Border With GOP Members Of Congress; Two Dead, 20 Missing After Devastating Mudslide In Japan. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 3, 2021 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Happy Fourth of July weekend.

Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with breaking news out of Massachusetts. A tense standoff has ended with police arresting nine suspects who they say were heavily armed, wearing tactical gear and body cameras. Authorities say the suspects claim to belong to a group that does not recognize U.S. laws.

The tense armed standoff shut down a portion of I-95 north of Boston, a major interstate, and residents in the towns of Wakefield and Reading had to shelter in place.

CNN's Evan McMorris Santoro is following this story for us. Evan, what happened -- start to finish?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, as you say, it appears that this has ended relatively well. But it's still a very, very disturbing story.

It all began last night around 1:30 a.m. when police say they were patrolling I-95 between Wakefield and Reading and came across two vehicles on the side of the road. One vehicle refueling the other vehicle. People gathered around wearing a lot of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police at a press conference earlier today described the people that they came in contact with.

Let's talk about that and then I'll tell you what happened on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COL. CHRISTOPHER MASON, MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: The trooper again stopped to assist, interacted with the individuals, and then quickly observed that they were clad in what I would describe as tactical or military style uniforms, BDUs, tactical vest, body-worn cameras.

Some had slung long rifles. Some had side arms, pistols. Some had a combination of both.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So after the police had that interaction, they said that some of the people in those vehicles fled into the woods and some stayed in those vehicles leading to that standoff that we heard about that now appears to be over with nine arrests in the end, according to police.

Now, we don't know a lot about the motivations of this group. We did hear that police said that this -- that this group said the law of the United States didn't apply to them. They said that one of the leaders of the group said that they wanted to make clear that he wasn't anti- government, but that the laws didn't apply to him.

We did hear a question from a reporter at the press conference about a group called Rise of the Moors, which is a group up there in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area.

We're still waiting for more details on that. but it looks like at the moment, a very, very scary situation has been made less scary, but still another instance where police are interacting with people with a lot of guns on a highway in a holiday weekend, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Tense indeed. Evan McMorris Santoro, thank you so much.

All right. Now to Surfside, Florida where search and rescue efforts are still under way more than a week after a portion of a condominium first fell.

And now new threats, an attorney from Miami-Dade County said in a court filing last night, the remaining part of the building was not structurally sound and posed an immediate threat of another collapse.

The mayor of Miami-Dade issuing an emergency order to demolish the remaining portion of Champlain Towers South.

All of this happening as tropical storm Elsa looms in the Atlantic. It was just downgraded from a hurricane. The storm possibly making landfall on Monday.

And there are now 22 confirmed deaths from that building collapse and 126 still unaccounted for. Among the dead, a child whose father is part of the search and rescue efforts, a Miami firefighter.

And there are concerns about other buildings in the area. Residents in a tower in north Miami Beach were given just a couple hours notice to evacuate after inspectors deemed their building unsafe. For the latest, let's go now to CNN's Natasha Chen, live for us in Surfside, Florida.

Natasha, officials just gave a press conference. What did they say?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. They're actually holding the press conference right just now a few yards away from me.

From what I hear from the beginning of it, the governor has announced a state of emergency for the state of Florida because of the tropical storm. He had previously said that the state is on a dual track. They're preparing for the storm and they're still working on this building collapse, of course.

The storm does create quite a bit of problems for the search and rescue efforts because you can imagine, even if it is downgraded, even if it isn't full force when it comes to Florida, even 40-mile-per-hour winds could create some serious issues for loose concrete and debris in the area.


CHEN: As you mentioned, a county attorney in a court filing on Friday describes the remaining parts of that building as behaving like it is going to collapse and that is posing an imminent threat to the people on site.

This is a really -- a series of challenges they really don't need at this point. They've got enough on their hands. These rescue personnel are taking shifts. They are working around the clock.

As you mentioned, there was a 7-year-old girl found, the daughter of a city of Miami firefighter. Really emotional, heart-wrenching moment because you can imagine those rescuers called her father over.

These are people who live in the community. They may not have gone home recently because they've been staying on site to work on the mission. But this is very difficult and a very personal task for them.

In the meantime, there are still the family members of 126 people unaccounted for, still bracing for any news whatsoever. And with this storm coming, it's possible that the mission may have to pause with that storm to come through.

You've also got the county mayor discussing the demolition of the remaining parts of the building. She put in an order for that because of the structural integrity issues that create a safety problem for the people on the site.

That may not happen until after the storm. The engineers will have to determine the right process for that to occur.

You did also mention that there are other buildings in the area. People clearly concerned, what if this would happen to our building?

So the Crestview Towers condo that you mentioned in north Miami Beach, that was evacuated last night. And that's because they turned in a recertification report that showed it was structurally and electrically unsafe. And so that report was actually dated in January but only turned in yesterday. So the city of north Miami Beach quickly tried to get everyone out there.

The Champlain Towers East building next to the one that fell, our colleague, Brian Todd, obtained a memo from a source close to the building, showing that there was spalling concrete on a pillar that occurred after this collapse and they are now doing as much as they can to shore that up.

They've got structural engineers there to work on it and ensure the safety of people in that building, as well, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So heart wrenching and heartbreaking. Thank you so much, Natasha Chen.

All right. Let's talk about this in further detail. Joining me right now is architect Kobi Karp. Kobi, so good to see you.

So there are a lot of concerns, you know, about the remaining portion of that Champlain Towers South and, of course, now in other structures along Miami Beach and north Miami Beach.

What are your concerns about the integrity of what remains? This as search and rescue teams continue to, you know, try to dive into that debris.

KOBI KARP, MEMBER, AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS: Number one, I want to thank you. And my heart and my prayers goes out to the families, to the neighbors that live in the neighboring community, as well. As you know, we have friends and family who live in such buildings adjacent.

And what's interesting here is that there is a new day, that we in Miami-Dade are really creating here that is very unique and special in a sense that everybody is looking at an existing building product in a new light.

We've had these structures, but nobody has really focused on it like we are focusing on it now.

And in Miami, Florida we are very cognizant of that, and we have done it in the past, specifically 1992 when Hurricane Andrew came through. We completely revamped and brought the Florida building code to the next level and made it so much more progressive. I see this happening right now on multiple levels.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so you see that this will be impetus for yet even more updated guidelines on new construction. But the concern right now is the construction of these towers and multi-family units before, built before Hurricane Andrew and all of those the new restrictions that were put into place.

So I wonder if you could help us zero in on the remaining structure that stands there at that Champlain Tower South. How will they go about demolishing what remains without also interfering with the pile of evidence and, of course, remains of bodies and those that they continue to search in hopes that perhaps miraculously, they might find someone alive?

How do they conduct that? Will it be like a building implosion, or will it be different? Would the technique be different?

KARP: So to be more specific, I think we are looking at completely at the buildings that we have pre-Hurricane Andrew, and all the buildings we have built in the 80a and 70s, and 60s and 50s which are going through the 40-year certification and the new technology that we shall have to do that.


KARP: I believe that right now, the most important thing that we can do as a community is gather around those buildings and make people feel comfortable and safe in the structures that they have.

And that will be the process and procedure we are following right now as a government, as inspectors, as engineers to do so.

The existing structure on site will have to come down, obviously. And the best thing really is for the structural engineers and the emergency workers who are on site to decide how that should come down. Because it is, obviously very important, especially with the upcoming tropical storms and the hurricanes that we have coming into the season.

WHITFIELD: All right. So they've got to assess a variety of ways in which that could be done in the most safe manner.

All right. So now let's zoom in on other structures. You know, we just saw that story out of north Miami Beach where there was a forced evacuation of another high-rise because of vulnerabilities of that building.

So in your view, all of these structures, right, would have regular inspections or reevaluations. But are we now seeing the consequence of perhaps inspections, reevaluations not happening frequently enough? Or is it that there are not imposed restrictions on how quickly you have to address problems once they are cited by way of inspections and recertifications?

KARP: All the comments you've just stated are being right now, from what I'm seeing with the government officials, the inspectors, the building inspectors that I'm with, they're focusing all those energies in the same fashion because right now, we have to do all of that.

We are stepping back, and we're looking and assessing each and every building. We to assess each and every building because that is a large quantity of structures that we live in -- hotels, apartments, condominiums. And some of them have been maintained quite well.

We have restored and repaired buildings that are in the 20s and 40s and 50s and 60s that are very successful. Yet, we've had quite a few structures that have not been maintained. Meaning the waterproofing, which is like the skin of our body, has not been maintained. Then the salt air of the tropics penetrates into the concrete and starts to eat away and corrode at the bone, which is the steel.

This is very important to understand because just like us, if we would go through life and we would not maintain ourselves or even our own personal home. If we would not maintain our personal home, this is what we would end up with.

WHITFIELD: Sure. But those aren't new discoveries. That, you know, has been known for decades. And certainly, those who are in the business of constructing these towers are mindful of that and have been for a very long time.

But I wonder now, as the Miami-Dade mayor who has ordered an audit of all high-rises over 40 years old, she's given inspectors 30 days in which to complete it. Are there enough inspectors to actually complete such inspections? And then what follows that? How quickly would those things have to be addressed?

KARP: I think what Daniella Cava, the mayor, has done is very, very, very good. I think that we need more of those actions to move forward.

There is an opportunity here, really a great opportunity for all of us to come together. We do have plenty of inspectors. We do have inspectors throughout the state of Florida. We have plenty of engineers, as well. And other engineers can always come into the community, as well, as needed.

But we do have plenty, plenty of engineers, qualified engineers in the community who will do this. And 30 days is a good bracket of time to really push and force this through because we need to have a system that we all look at and a database that is on the computer, that's open to the public, that everybody can really see it.

It's really unique and special because today, we have the technology, like you and I are talking right now, we have the ability to communicate. We can scan. We can infrared. We can check the salinity of the concrete.

We can see it together live, where we are in each and every building. Some of the issues that have been put on social media are expansion joints (ph), but some of the things that were put on the TV and social media are quite scary. And that's what we are really dealing with rapidly and quickly.

WHITFIELD: All right. We all remain hopeful for continued safety.

Kobi Karp, thank you so much for your expertise. Appreciate it.

KARP: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, the Fourth of July holiday weekend, well, it's right here. Millions of Americans are traveling despite new concerns about the Delta variant. Plus, a major American city urging vaccinated residents to wear masks

indoors even though the CDC says they aren't necessary at all. We'll break down all of your coronavirus headlines next.



WHITFIELD: The U.S. has now set a new record for pandemic-era air travel as we kick off the holiday weekend. Nearly 2.2 million travelers passed through TSA security checkpoints on Friday.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me now from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

So Polo, when do experts expect the numbers to peak, if not now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a really good question, right. Fred, behind me are some of the roughly 48 million people you just said are going to be traveling, according to AAA.

And then when you look at that other number that you also mentioned, it is really quite telling here as just under 2.2 million people were screened at TSA checkpoints across the country.

Not only is that a pandemic record, it's also higher than the same day in 2019 so it certainly speaks to that confidence that people have. Hopefully many of them obviously being vaccinated.


SANDOVAL: And at the same time, this is also leading to some challenges for some airlines. You do have the increase in staffing that many airlines are trying to actually institute.

American Airlines, for example, they actually scaled back their flights by about 1 percent, trying to compensate for that demand so they're trying to prevent any potential cancellations there.

But then there's the other issue too, that airlines are up against. And that is the issue of unruly passengers. Fred, you and I have talked about this already in the last several weeks. And we've been following these complaints already, over 3,000 that the FAA has actually received.

The majority of those, many of those, having to do with non-compliance of mask wearing. Remember, you still have to wear masks either in the terminal or in mid-flight. And one of the ways that the FAA is trying to remedy that issue is by putting out its public service announcement ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. Directly from the kids, telling the parents and telling adults they should act their age.

Here's a part of it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fighting is not good when you're on a plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll go to jail if they keep doing that stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be really scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would not like that, if someone did that to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should know better if they're like, adults.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're grown-ups, and they have to play a good role model.


SANDOVAL: Some much-needed finger wagging coming from the kids out there because it certainly has led to some complications in flights, some cancellations, some flight delays as well.

And by the way, if you hope to just simply skip the flight all together, you're going to be among the majority. That's why AAA estimated about 43 million people will actually be getting to and from their destinations on the road. It may not necessarily be cheaper though with the average price for a gallon of gas right now at about $3.12 -- the highest in over seven years, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, roads are all pretty congested. I was flying out of LaGuardia yesterday. It was pretty packed. So how busy is it today?

SANDOVAL: I would say it's certainly not the busiest that we've seen. But of course, typically, a lot of the travel happens on Friday, ahead of the weekend. So we're definitely going to have to see exactly how it shapes up come Monday. Obviously, that's usually when a lot of people are going to be heading back home after their Fourth of July vacations.

But overall, you were here yesterday and you can kind of compare it. It really does seem like it is smooth sailing for most passengers.

But again an important reminder for folks, and I know you did this yesterday, Fred, we have to keep those masks on --

WHITFIELD: You got to wear that mask.

SANDOVAL: -- when we head to the terminal and then when you make your way on the plane.

WHITFIELD: Right. You even have to commit to it, you know, as you check in. So there you go.


WHITFIELD: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

So as Americans travel in record numbers this weekend, new coronavirus cases are up 10 percent over the last week. The CDC says the hyper- transmissible Delta variant is likely to blame for the spike in infections.

Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University. Good to see you, Doctor.

So how can people safely celebrate the Fourth of July?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Fred, it is really simple. If you and those around you are vaccinated, you can celebrate the Fourth of July this year the same way that you would have done in 2019.

If you are not vaccinated, you need to wear a mask at any indoor gathering. And if you're vaccinated but your kids aren't, try to keep the gatherings outdoors, unless it's just you and one other family, in which case, especially if you're in an area with low rates of COVID, it may be safe for those kids to take their masks off indoors for a little bit.

WHITFIELD: California's positivity rate has doubled over recent weeks, and the Delta variant represented 36 percent of the state's new cases. So when L.A. County said, we want to go back to wearing masks, even if you have been vaccinated, in public indoor spaces, do you feel like they were on to something?

DR. RANNEY: So I think that having universal mask wearing sends a social signal to everybody that we expect you to be masked up if you're not vaccinated. The trouble with releasing a mask mandate is we all know that the people who aren't vaccinated are also the least likely to wear a mask. That puts potentially our kids at risk and those folks for whom the vaccines haven't worked.

So in the face of this surge in cases, putting an indoor mask mandate back in place is not the worst thing in the world. Other countries are doing it.

Of course, I don't expect much of the U.S. to follow suit because much of the U.S. didn't have a mask mandate to begin with.

WHITFIELD: So it (INAUDIBLE) is likely to be an anomaly for a bit.

All right. Health officials in St. Louis, Missouri are now urging residents to wear masks when they are indoors with people who may not be vaccinated because of the spread of this more transmissible Delta variant.

So while that is an area that says we're going to, you know, follow suit of what L.A. County has done, I mean, might now other cities reconsider? Might they be watching them to see if they got it right?


DR. RANNEY: So Missouri is in a really bad place right now. They're seeing a dramatic rise in COVID cases, similar to what they saw last summer.

This is what so many of us have been predicting in these states with really low vaccination rates. You have places in Missouri where only 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent of the residents are fully vaccinated.

This new Delta virus is going to spread like wildfire there. It is overwhelming hospitals in parts of the state. They have no choice but to put mask mandates in place, while they also try to get vaccines in.

Because remember, if you're not vaccinated, even if you get your first shot today, you're not going to be fully protected for another three to five weeks. This is why it is so important to go and get those vaccines now if you haven't yet had the chance.

WHITFIELD: A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 31 percent of adults who have yet to get vaccinated would be more likely to get a shot of a vaccine that has full FDA approval. Both Pfizer and Moderna have submitted applications for full approval, but the FDA is not expected to make any decisions until later on in the winter. Do you think that's going to make a big difference?

DR. RANNEY: I think getting full approval will make a big difference. It will overcome that hesitancy or lack of confidence of a segment of our population.

You know what, I wish the FDA would move faster. They have all the data. We have hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. alone who have received these vaccines safely and effectively. The delay to me is inexcusable.

WHITFIELD: So what is the hold up?

DR. RANNEY: It could somehow --


DR. RANNEY: -- you know, I wish I knew. A full FDA approval process normally does take months, but they've already looked at the preliminary data. It's not that much more.

They managed to approve an Alzheimer's drug that had minimal data about efficacy. I simply can't understand why they're waiting on this one.


WHITFIELD: Because at this point, yes, you have millions of people who have, you know, gotten the shots in the arms, so how much more data do you need?

DR. RANNEY: That's exactly it. And it's not like this is data that they haven't seen. It's not like you're having to pour (ph) over things that are brand-new or consuming. This is simply more of the same of what they saw back in December when they approved the vaccines in the first place.

WHITFIELD: The U.S. will apparently, you know -- it will fall short. It is falling short right now of President Biden's goal of having 70 percent of American adults vaccinated with at least one vaccine by tomorrow.

We're quite a ways off from that in terms of two vaccines. Is it a disappointment or, you know, is it just likely to happen but, like you said, FDA approval might help encourage people?

DR. RANNEY: So, you know, you keep putting one foot in front of another. Would I have loved to have seen 70 percent of Americans with at least a first dose of a vaccine? Absolutely.

As a physician who works in the ER, I was there last night. I'm going back again tonight. I know how important it is to keep people safe and how effective these vaccines are.

But this is where we are. So what can we do now? Yes, absolutely, that FDA approval would make a difference. Having some workplaces mandate vaccines, hospitals, in particular, nursing homes, having them enforce that their workers need to have vaccines, that will make a difference.

And then it's the ground game. It's those of us who have already gotten the shot talking to our friends and family and neighbors about how minimal the side effects are and how much safer it makes us. That helps (INAUDIBLE) and help get people over that finish line.

WHITFIELD: And if people still have a hard time believing that this COVID-19 is highly contagious, we've just learned that at least six members of the search and rescue team in Surfside, Florida have tested positive. And this according to the Miami-Dade fire rescue officials. Those members have been isolated.

But talk to me about how this adds to the challenge that they are encountering right now in continuing their search efforts.

DR. RANNEY: Yes. You know, Florida is one of the states that doesn't have great vaccination numbers. They recently had an outbreak in a Department of Health where people were unvaccinated and the COVID virus spread among folks within the building at the Department of Health.

You know, how can you do search and rescue? How can you have police out on the streets? How can you have teachers in schools if the teachers or police or first responders aren't vaccinated?

They're putting themselves at risk. It slows down the ability to deliver these essential functions if they have to quarantine, and it puts the citizens around them at risk, as well.

I just, you know -- I wish that there were some way for me to go face- to-face with every American and sit down and talk with them about the miracle that these vaccines really provide for us, and the degree to which it helps keep those around us who are vulnerable -- kids, folks with cancer, folks with immunosuppressants. It helps us keep them safe, as well.

WHITFIELD: Yes. I can see how incredibly frustrating all of this is for many of you on the front lines in the medical profession.

Thank you so much, Dr. Megan Ranney. Appreciate your expertise and encouragement to help keep us all smarter, safer.

DR. RANNEY: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Happy Fourth.

All right. I want to go to Stoneham, Massachusetts right now for an update on our top story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As with before, we will take questions for a brief period afterward. Again, please bear in mind this is a fluid situation. The investigation is still ongoing, even though all suspects are in custody.

So there will still be a lot of questions that we will not be answering at this point. But we'll do our best to give you as much information as possible. Thank you.

Colonel Mason?

MASON: Thank you. I'm pleased and relieved to be able to report to you that at approximately 10:15 this morning, we were able to successfully resolve this situation through a combination of negotiation and some tactical maneuvers.

As a result of that, we were able to place nine individuals into custody without incident. They joined the two that had previously been placed under arrest earlier in the morning for a total of 11 arrests.

Those individuals surrendered without incident to the state police top (ph) team members that were at the scene. And I'd like to commend them for an outstanding job. The job that they did in coordination with the (INAUDIBLE) assets, really fine job out at the scene. A great deal of discipline and patience was exercised out there today.

I can share with you that a number of firearms have been seized. I cannot share with you the exact number. The two vehicles that were at the scene are being towed from the scene. They will be processed pursuant to a court-authorized search warrant. And only then will we know the exact number of firearms that have been seized. I can tell you that firearms, both long guns and handguns, are in plain view. And we anticipate those will be seized.

As you can see, Route 95 is now open. We're happy to have that back open, particularly given the holiday weekend. I know that the MSP crime scene section has just completed its processing of the scene. 3D imaging and drone overflight documented that scene and memorialized that scene for the investigators moving forward.

Massachusetts State Police Explosives Ordnance Disposal section or EOD, swept both of the vehicles prior to them being towed. There was no specific intelligence related to IDs or any improvised devices or explosives. However, out of an abundance of caution we wanted to ensure that those vehicles have been swept prior to being towed and secured for evidentiary processing. Motorists transiting on 95 northbound in the Wakefield area around the 57 mile marker should still exercise caution and expect some delays.

There will be some ongoing police activities that they'll see in the area. Those activities consist predominantly of searches that are being conducted adjacent to the breakdown lane in the wooded area around that area.

We just want to make sure that nothing has been left behind at that scene. That we're confident the public will be safe and there's no items of any concern that are there.

At the end of the day, really, I attribute the successful resolution of this to both patience, professionalism, and partnership. I couldn't be happier with the way the local, state, county, and federal assets all came together to successfully resolve this incident.

At the end of the day, we have a desired outcome which is a safe revolution. Everybody on all sides of this equation go home safely and the roadway is open.

So I'd really like to thank everybody for their hard work on this, for their patience in working with us.

I'd specifically like to call out also Mass DOT for their assistance. Their assistance in messaging to the motorists, their assistance with the road closures and providing safety and security with their dump trucks, their snowplows, that allowed the operation to go off without a hitch.

So with that being said, I would like to utilize this opportunity to wish everybody a happy, safe, and hopefully uneventful Fourth of July.

Now I'll turn it over to the district attorney. Thank you.


This serves as a reminder to all of us. As the colonel said, and I join him in his thanks, of the kind of situation that troopers may face in the middle of the night on the highway. We've all heard about the trooper coming to the aid of these disabled vehicles being substantially outnumbered by armed individuals.

The tactics and de-escalation practices that he engaged in, as well as the other state and local police officers that responded in getting us to a safe resolution. They deserve a great deal of credit for getting what could have been a very, very dangerous situation to a safe ending.

And in respect to that, we join as well in thanks, to the people who sheltered in place, who followed the directives that were being issued by Mass DOT and the local police department in helping people to get to this resolution.

[11:34:50] RYAN: As you've heard, there are a number of guns. We are also working on identification of these individuals. It's my expectation that all of them will be appearing in the Woburn (ph) District Court on a variety of firearms and other charges. And we'll know that better once we know exactly what we have here.

They should be there on Tuesday morning. We'll be putting out more information with respect to that.

But again, this is a reminder. As we and all of our families begin the holiday, of the dangers that can arise very rapidly in places where we may least expect that.

And the way in which these officers working together today and using the best kinds of de-escalation and negotiation skills that they have, were able to bring this to a place where within a few hours, we are in a safe resolution of this situation.

So I want to really commend everybody that was involved in this this morning.

I'm going to turn it over to Chief Skory, the chief of the Wakefield Police Department.


Obviously, very happy that this was brought to a peaceful resolution. I would like to thank the residents of Wakefield for their cooperation and understanding during this incident. The roads in Wakefield that were closed have now reopened.

I'd also like to thank the police agencies that are part of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council for their response and their assistance. The numerous chiefs that responded to provide their expertise and assistance to me. And I'd also like to give recognition to the local fire departments that responded, (INAUDIBLE) ambulance and the Wakefield Department of Public Works. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to echo what Chief Skory said. We're very happy this resolved peacefully and without incident, and that things are opening back up again, you know, with the holiday weekend. We appreciate everybody's patience in being understanding.

And I hope everybody understands that what we did isn't over but it is a caution to make sure that the residents and people of Massachusetts were safe. We kept everybody safe. And appreciative of everybody's understanding.

And we just like to thank, again, the work with the state police. Colonel, your office did a fantastic job, the local surrounding towns that helped us out, helped us cover the towns (INAUDIBLE) service.

And then for coming out in a true show of working together and all these multiple agencies working together, to come to a successful conclusion. I just wanted to thank everybody.

And hopefully the rest of the Fourth of July is uneventful for everybody. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll echo both chiefs' comments that we are very fortunate that this came to a successful resolution. No one was hurt. The suspects were taken into custody.

Very appreciative of the residents of Stoneham who were impacted by the traffic and have some understanding that this is the type of stuff that needs to get done in order to bring this --

WHITFIELD: All right. This holiday weekend, I-95 near Wakefield and Reading, Massachusetts now back open.

Our Evan McMorris-Santoro following this story.

So what precipitated the arrest of these 11 suspects?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well Fred, as we heard in that presser, fortunately, all those roads that were closed all morning are all back open. Everything has gone down in a safe way, it seems.

What we know about this, and we're still learning a lot more from things like that press conference, is this all began overnight. 1:30 a.m. a Massachusetts State police officer was patrolling a section of I-95, came across two cars in the breakdown lane, according to the police.

And those cars had individuals around them refueling one of the other cars. Those individuals were armed. The police called in backup, and that led to some of those individuals fleeing into the woods and others staying in those vehicles. And that precipitated a standoff with police and negotiators and these individuals for hours that has apparently ended with 11 arrests and no violence, fortunately.

But guns all over the place in this story. Guns everywhere in this holiday weekend moment on this busy highway. It is a very disturbing moment indeed.

We still don't know a lot about the motivation of these people. The police said early on that these individuals said the laws of the United States do not apply to them. One of the leaders of the group when speaking to police said that he's not anti-government, but wanted to stress that fact, police said.

And we've seen some conversations, a reporter asking at a press conference earlier about a group that's in that Massachusetts area called Rise of the Moors. That is a group that is a nationalist group that sort of rejects some U.S. laws.

We don't know about that yet. The police haven't confirmed that yet, but that's the early indication we have of what happened here in Massachusetts. And we're hoping to get more as we go on.

But for now, I-95 is open. The roads are back open. And everyone is safe after a very scary few hours this morning, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Evan McMorris-Santoro, keep us posted. Thanks so much.

And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right. A conservative YouTube personality who took part in the January 6th riot at the Capitol traveled with a group of House Republicans to the U.S./Mexico border this week and even served as a translator at times for the lawmakers.

The man live-streamed much of his time with the group at the border, in fact posing for selfies, and praising the GOP lawmakers.


ANTHONY AGUERO, CONSERVATIVE LIVE STREAMER, PARTICIPATED IN CAPITOL RIOT: This is great because Congressman actually Cawthorn came out here and showed his face down here at the border, and trying to get a better understanding as to what's currently happening out here.

This cannot be a new America, us trapped -- transporting people on a daily basis. We cannot -- this cannot be America, guys. These people are literally being trafficked into the border.



WHITFIELD: So the border trip, that border trip, came on the very day, it was just this past Tuesday, those Republican members were skipping a House vote on creating a select congressional committee to investigate the insurrection.

CNN reporter and editor of the CNN KFile Andrew Kaczynski joining us now with more on this reporting that he first broke right here on CNN.

So Andrew, this is pretty remarkable. I mean, this Capitol rioter posted lots of videos and pictures of his border interactions with lawmakers, so this was not done in secrecy. He wanted the whole world to see it. And so now, we have. Walk us through what you've learned.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yes. It's pretty remarkable. And I mean ironic, too, on that level in which they were actually skipping a vote on the special committee for January 6th, and then ended up being on the border with someone who participated in the riot on January 6th.

Now, Anthony Aguero is a close ally and friend of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene before she was actually elected to Congress. They collaborated together on trips to the Capitol, trips to the border, stuff like that.

And he was able to end up very close with all of these members of Congress who traveled to an area of the border that's frequented by migrants coming into the country. It's not exactly clear how he ended up with them. There was, you know, there was press on the trip.

CNN had actually a CNN reporter was present coming with the lawmakers. But he was able just to be so, you know, intimate with them. He translated for them. He gave them, you know, what he thought about his view on the border. Even drove one of them in his truck.

Now, the history of this guy is he -- as we previously reported, he broke or walked into the Capitol, I guess, cheered it on while the break-in was happening after -- later justified the break-in. So he was, you know, very much involved in the riot on January 6th.

So it's pretty remarkable that this guy was able to, you know -- he hasn't been charged by the FBI. FBI hasn't commented to us if they're investigating him.

But here he is. And he ends up with Republican members of Congress.

WHITFIELD: It is extraordinary. And so is there any reaction coming from any of the GOP lawmakers that accompanied him or that he was, you know, seen with or any other Republican lawmakers commenting on this?

KACZYNSKI: Yes, so the Republican Study Committee, which is a caucus of conservative members -- that's who organized the trip for the two dozen members who went down to the border. This was late Tuesday night.

They said that it was purely incidental that he ended up with them. They said, you know, the members didn't know who he was. At least one of the members, Lauren Boebert, gave a similar comment, where she said she didn't know who he was.

But at the same time, you know, we talk about this again, here are these members. They skipped the vote for the special committee, and they end up with someone who actually broke into the Capitol when they were skipping the vote.

And this was all ahead, by the way, of President Trump, former president Trump's visit to the border. So that was the context of why they were there. They went down a little bit ahead of him, and then actually this guy Anthony Aguero, sat behind Trump when he did his, I guess you want to call it town hall or interview with Sean Hannity late Wednesday night.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coincidences? Still question marks with that.

All right. Andrew Kaczynski, thank you so much.

All right. Next, stunning images of a deadly mudslide in Japan. Look at that. We're live from Tokyo in minutes.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Two people were killed as a devastating mudslide swept away homes in a seaside town south of Tokyo. Emergency crews have paused their search for the night for 20 people still missing in the mudslide.

CNN's Selina Wang is in Tokyo for us. So what can you tell us about this search?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, we were just talking to local officials who say that search and rescue operations will resume in the morning.

150 members of Japan's self-defense forces have also arrived to search and support these operations. Two people confirmed dead. 20 people are still missing.

And video of this catastrophe is just terrifying. You can see the destruction, the mudslide going through, sweeping through, destroying everything in its path. Homes, cars, infrastructure, debris, crushing everything in its path. You can even see some people running for their lives. Local officials say that as many as 300 households have been impacted by the mudslide.

They've issued an evacuation order for 20,000 households in Atami. They've also said more rain is expected. There could even be more mudslides.

And right now Fred, residents are shocked and they are scared and devastated. Atami City is a beautiful seaside resort area. The area that was hit by the mudslide includes shopping areas, hot springs and even a famous shrine.

We are in Japan's annual rainy season but this devastation, nothing could have prepared residents for it, Fred.

WHITFIELD: That is unbelievable to see.

All right. Selina Wang in Tokyo, thank you so much.

All right. More news in a moment but first here's today's "Off the Beaten Path".


BRAD NORMAND, RANGER, BRUNEAU DUNES STATE PARK: Welcome to Bruneau Dunes State Park. We are about an hour south of Boise. And behind me stands the single largest structured sand dune in North America and it stands 470 feet tall.

Sand boarding and sand sledding has gained a lot of traction here recently. We wax up the boards and it just really helps them gain some speed on sand there.


DORMAND: I think people are just kind of discovering this new activity and you can't do it anywhere else. This section of the Snake River we have the best of both worlds. I'm

sitting here in front of Blue Harps Springs. It's a hidden cove where the springs come up from the bottom.

Because of the crystal clear water and the sunlight it just transforms it into a blue gem. The water comes up year-round at a constant 58 degrees so when you're swimming in it, you get really chilled.

But on the other side of the river, we have natural hot springs. Banbury Hot Springs that we've piped it into pools to get warmed back up.

WALACE KECK, SUPERINTENDENT, CITY OR ROCKS NATIONAL RESERVE: We are in South Central Idaho where granite has been uncovered through eons of erosion to give us these giant monoliths on the surface of the earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to play something?


KECK: City Rocks has become one of the more popular places to rock climb in the country. 23 square miles of granite outcrops, towers, pinnacles, just spread out before you. You can just take in the vastness of it.