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Gunman at Large after Killing Golf Pro, Two Others; Track Star Sha'Carri Richardson Vows to be World Champ Next Year; Pope Francis Recovering in Hospital after Scheduled Surgery. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired July 5, 2021 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're dealing with a historic situation with this pandemic and we do have the tools to counter it. So, for goodness sakes, put aside all of those differences and realize that the common enemy is the virus.
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ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, it is a life- saving treatment, as Dr. Fauci said, the tool is there to save your own life, essentially. I think that the CDC and others are really struggling with how to convince the last third of America to roll up sleeves and get a COVID-19 shot. Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: That really is where the battle is right now, and it is important because it gives a foothold to this new variant. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.
SCIUTTO: Well, the surge in air travel, and it is big if you've been in the airport in the last couple of weeks, it is causing headaches for travelers this is holiday weekend. Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed across the U.S. as Americans traveled for the 4th. That is no fun. According to AAA, nearly 50 million people traveled by either car or plane over the past several days.
CNN Aviation and Transportation Correspondent Pete Muntean live at Reagan National Airport. So, Pete, I mean, millions of people are flying but the airlines expected this, right? I mean, the tickets were getting bought. I mean, so why all of these delays and cancelations?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION AND TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT: It has been so busy at airports across the country, Jim. And we will see if today sets a new pandemic-era air travel record. 2.2 million people flew on Friday. But remember that airlines got a lot smaller over the pandemic. Now, fewer people are now staffing fewer airplanes and that is making it harder for airlines to bounce back from things, like maintenance issues and bad weather.
Just look at these numbers from FlightAware. Airlines delayed, about 3,100 flights just yesterday, canceled about 150 flights, these numbers actually a lot better than what they were last week. On Thursday, airlines in the United States canceled or delayed about 10,000 flights in total.
Now, June was a really tough month for the airlines, so this just puts this into context. Southwest Airlines delayed or canceled the most flights of any airline and it has been pleading with its flight attendants to pick up extra July 4th trips to alleviate some of these issues that the airlines are going through.
Consumer advocates are quick to point out that airlines received about $50 billion in aid from the federal government because of the pandemic, and they were still not prepared for this. Here is what they say.
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BILL MCGEE, AVIATION ADVISER, CONSUMER REPORTS: We need to have a national discussion about how the airlines are using taxpayer dollars and yet they're still not serving us and they're still inconveniencing us.
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MUNTEAN: Now, United Airlines anticipates today will be its busiest day since the start of the pandemic. After we get through this rush period, we have to worry about one more thing on the horizon, that is Tropical Storm Elsa, and right now, its path goes towards many major airline's hubs and that could make it harder to bounce back with more bad weather on the horizon. So we'll see, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Yes. All that relief money was meant to keep them from furloughing workers, right, to keep them on the job. So, you would like to see better effect. Pete Muntean, thanks very much.
Well, Georgia golf pro shot and killed at the club where he worked, and after the suspect ran, police found two more victims' bodies. We're live from the golf course after the break.
SCIUTTO: A gunman is still on run this morning after killing a golf pro on a Georgia golf course. Police say the suspect shot 41-year-old Gene Siller at a golf course in Kennesaw, Georgia, on Saturday. The suspect then ran. He left a white pickup truck behind. And in that truck, police found the bodies of two other men.
CNN's Ryan Young is in Kennesaw, Georgia, this morning. Ryan, any idea who the suspect is and what is the state of the chase?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, so many questions in this story. In fact, we're still reaching out to investigators to see if there is any new details involving, because right now, you have is a golf pro who was shot in the head. I mean, this country club behind me is one of those where people are showing up today to have a good time, spend time with their family. No one ever expected a crime like this.
And then when you add the detail to the fact that inside of the truck, there was two more bodies discovered. They believe one of the people dead in the back of the truck was the owner of that vehicle.
But, so far, there have been no descriptions put out of the shooter. We're not sure if there is any video surveillance from this area or whether or not police have been able to go through any kind of cell phone records to try to figure out who this shooter may be. Of course, that is the kind of details that we're looking for.
But when you think about this, this father of two at work at a country club and then all of a sudden responds to what sounds like maybe a crash and then gets shot. In fact, there was one man who was actually with the victim the day before and he give this part of the story. Take a listen.
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SEBASTIAN SCHUTTE, FRIEND OF GENE SILLER: It didn't hit me until later that this happened at our country club. And it really is -- I still can't believe it.
A really nice guy, greeted everyone, treated everyone with respect, a really good guy.
I think we're all trying to stay kind of positive, bring each other up, because it is just such a tragedy that's happened. Yes, I just think we just have got to keep each other happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Jim, when you think about this, we're near a college campus, this is a really nice suburb, no sort of inflection that would show that a crime like this would happen. Once again, this is what investigators are trying to figure out the next steps, so, hopefully, there is some sort of information in terms of a picture or description that we can share with you at some point.
But this father of two at work gets shot and then all of a sudden the suspect runs off into one of these neighborhoods.
Still, no word from police about where this man could be. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Goodness, just so senseless. Ryan Young, thanks very much.
SCIUTTO: Members of a highly armed militia group involved in a standoff that shut down a Massachusetts highway for hours over the weekend, they're now facing a slew of charges. The group called itself the Rise of the Moors, forced police to close part of I-95 just north of Boston. Police even issued shelter in place orders for the area because of just the kind of weapons and how many these men were carrying. The standoff ended peacefully, thankfully, but after nine hours.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is here. Polo, tell us what we know about this group and what it was up to.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, what we know about these 11 self-described militia men as they are facing a slew of charges, they were arrested without incident after what was still a relatively long standoff, as you pointed out there, for almost nine hours, forcing the closure of Interstate-95. They are facing a slew of charges from weapons-related charges and even being accused of conspiracy to commit a crime. In fact, we have the list for you and you could see for yourself there.
Now, this standoff originally started when these men were apparently fuelling up their personal vehicles on the side of I-95. A Massachusetts state trooper was passing by, pulls over, to check them out, sees that they were armed, requests I.D., they refused, and that essentially leads to this standoff between police and these individuals that, as we'll say again, were arrested without incident.
Now, we are learning that they do subscribe to the Moor Sovereign ideology, mainly the Rise of the Moors here. What we know about this group is that they're based in Rhode Island, it's a group that claims to be an independent sovereign nation and says that they have territorial rights over property throughout Rhode Island.
Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which among other roles, helps classify extremist groups, actually just classified them last year as an extremist anti-government organization.
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MARGARET HUANG, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: This group is primarily people of African descent. And their beliefs are really, really focus on their refusal to accept any authority from the U.S. government. They don't take driver's licenses, they don't seek gun licenses, they don't pay taxes to the U.S. government.
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SANDOVAL: The Southern Poverty Law Center also adding that they tend to recruit people that, as they put it, are down on their luck and really counting on that.
Now, in terms of numbers, Jim, it is really difficult to say at this point, according to officials, in terms of how many members that they have. But I went on their social media pages and I can tell you they do maintain a heavy presence there and do have a big following there, certainly gaining the attention of not just Massachusetts state authorities but also federal officials as well.
SCIUTTO: There are a whole host of these anti-government groups highly armed. It is a real problem, according to the FBI. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much.
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Well Sha'Carri Richardson's Olympic dream postponed, this after she tested positive tor THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Should the Olympics still ban marijuana use? Her suspension has sparked a debate. We're going to discuss, next.
SCIUTTO: U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson is not giving up after being suspended from the U.S. Olympic team for testing positive for marijuana. The 21-year-old tweeted yesterday, quote, I'm sorry, I can't be y'all Olympic champ this year, but I promise I'll be your world champ next year. Also this, all of the perfect people that know how to live life, I'm glad I'm not one of them.
She had a similar message while apologizing for taking responsibility for her actions, saying she smoked marijuana after learning from a reporter that her biological mother had died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHA'CARRI RICHARDSON, SUSPENDED FROM U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM: I apologize, sort of saying I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time.
But I just say don't judge me because I am human. I just happen to run a little faster.
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SCIUTTO: Well, joining me now is sports studies professor at Manhattanville College Amy Bass. She's also the author Not the Triumph but the Struggle, the 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete. Thanks so much coming on, Amy.
First question here, right, is the question of cannabis as a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency. USADA, which follows the world standards here says it is a banned substance as it, quote, poses a health risk to athletes, has the potential to enhance performance and violates the spirit of the sport. I mean, is it a health risk issue here or a performance-enhancing drug? What is the answer?
AMY BASS, SPORTS STUDIES PROFESSOR, MANHATTANVILLE COLLEGE: It is very blurry, isn't it, the language they use on cannabis? I think that is one of the tensions and that is one of the reasons that this story has blown up, because people's sort of shock and awe that marijuana is a banned substance by WADA, by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and wondering what a sprinter could get out of it in terms of performance enhancement, how is it a competitive edge.
Relaxation, recovery, there are certainly things that can help an athlete along. But marijuana, cannabis, is an in-competition banned drug. Her positive test came on the day of her trials victory
So had she tested positive out of competition, it is not a substance that's going to bring the same kind of sanctions.
So the lines are a little blurry and, again, people keep thinking in Eugene, Oregon, it is legal to take part in marijuana, to use marijuana. So then we're looking at sort of that conflict between rules within the Olympic world and rules within the real world that we live in.
SCIUTTO: Okay. Fact is, and President Biden noted this yesterday, that these are the rules, which the athletes are aware of. And as I noted the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency following the World Anti-Doping Agency rules. So you have this question then. As U.S. states, some but not all, some states legalize it, can the U.S. go its own way on cannabis and, in effect, say, well, our athletes can use it because it is legal in some states or if they live in a state where it is legal even if the World Anti-Doping body goes another way?
BASS: No, because the U.S. Olympic team is part of the International Organizing Federations, so track and field, and then part of the International Olympic Committee, which is the connection to WADA. So, you're absolutely right.
And Sha'Carri Richardson has openly admitted that, she has accepted responsibility for what she did. She said she shouldn't have done it. She knew the rules. She was in a particular point of her life where using marijuana, one, over knowing what the rules were, she has apologized and she has look forward.
And I don't think we can ask more of an athlete in that situation. I think that then we have to ask the bigger question of what constitutes a competitive advantage and are the rules fair and just, not should America go its own way, because it just can't. It is part of this Olympic community.
SCIUTTO: So, based on the calendar, right, so one month ban which expires during the Olympics, in effect, she cannot make the individual event because by U.S. Olympic team rules, you have got to qualify, right. But there is the possibility that she could be chosen as one of two athletes for the four by 100 relay team and then that event is after the one month suspension. Is that what could happen next, that she's allowed to go to the Olympics just for the relay team?
BASS: It absolutely could happen. It is going to be up to her. It's going to be up to Team USA. And I think that there is some real questions for both sides to think about. She has already talked about the worlds next year, that that's her next focal point, so maybe the relay isn't what she wants.
But USA track and field has the potential here for a real star moment in someone like Sha'Carri Richardson. She is one who is flamboyant and a motive and fast and talented and young. And we only really talk about track in the larger sense of sports once every four years, in this case, once every five years. So do we really want to let this opportunity go? She holds more cards, I think, than a lot of people are willing to talk about.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And she electrified everyone, if you haven't seen that tape of her winning that qualifier, it is quite a moment there. So we'll see if she still gets that ticket to Tokyo. Amy Bass, thanks very much.
BASS: Thanks so much for having me.
SCIUTTO: Well, Pope Francis is in the hospital now recuperating from surgery. What exactly was the procedure, how long before he can return to Vatican City? We're going to live from Rome, next.
SCIUTTO: Right now, Pope Francis is recovering in the hospital following surgery on Sunday. The 84-year-old pope entered the hospital for the planned surgery just hours after conducting the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, you see it right there.
CNN Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher is live just outside the hospital in Rome where he's being treated. Delia, could you describe this procedure, how serious and how long is he expected to be in?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it is good news for the pope. The latest medical bulletin saying he's in good condition, he's alert, responding and breathing on his own. The surgery took about three hours yesterday. They say it involved removing a lower portion of the lower left colon. The Pope Francis was suffering from diverticulitis. That's inflammation of the colon, and as well as a narrowing of the colon, which can cause blockage. It's a condition that is common in the elderly.
The pope is 84 years old and the surgery required general anesthesia. So, good news that the this morning pope is alert And responding. The prognosis is for at least seven days in the hospital. Behind me, I don't know if you can see behind me here, Jim, the pope's rooms are those five windows at the top that have the shades down right now. That is the papal suite. This is a hospital in Rome that has treated popes for decades. John Paul II spent a lot of time in those rooms, and Francis will be there for at least the next seven days. Jim?
SCIUTTO: I remember being in the lobby of that hospital during John Paul II, during his treatment there. So how many days before he is likely to leave?
GALLAGHER: So, they're saying it is seven days, Jim, barring any complications. Obviously, in a case like this, they have got to just wait and see how the recovery goes. It is going to be some important days coming up. We'll keep you posted. Jim?
SCIUTTO: We're watching very closely there. Delia Gallagher live in Rome outside of the hospital, thanks very much.
And thanks so much to all of you for joining us today. We hope you're finding a good way to enjoy this holiday weekend. I hope the weather is nice where you are. I'm Jim Sciutto.
At This Hour with Boris Sanchez sitting in today starts right now.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN AT THIS HOUR: Hello. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Kate Bolduan. Here is what we're watching at this hour.