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Radical Groups Clash with Police in Boston, Philadelphia; Experts: Extremists More Comfortable Appearing Publicly; At Least 150 Killed, 400 Plus Shooting Over Holiday Weekend; Hong Kong Police: Six Students Arrested in "Local Terrorism" Plot; Millions of Americans Hit the Road for the Holiday Weekend. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 6, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Well the threat from extremist groups was on display in the U.S. over the weekend, one was involved in a nine hour standoff with police that closed a portion of a major interstate. The other, a white nationalist hate group marched through downtown Philadelphia. CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two extremist groups surfacing this holiday weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are on Interstate 95.

GINGRAS (voice-over): A standoff on the highway in Massachusetts between an anti-government group and police, and a white nationalist hate group marching in the streets of Philadelphia.

MARGARET HUANG, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: They pose a real threat to everyone in our communities.

GINGRAS (voice-over): In Massachusetts, 11 men, including a 17-year- old facing several firearms related charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone remain calm!

GINGRAS (voice-over): State police there stumbled upon the group early Saturday morning. The men were on the side of the road refueling their trucks with gasoline from canisters they carried with them. Many were wearing full tactical gear and they were armed. A standoff with authorities unfolded, shutting down the highway and forcing nearby neighborhoods into a shelter in place situation.

COL. CHRISTOPHER MASON, MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: You can imagine 11 armed individuals standing with long guns slung on an interstate highway at 2:00 in the morning, certainly raises concerns and is not consistent with the firearms laws that we have here in Massachusetts.

GINGRAS: (voice-over) In livestreams posted online, a member identified their group as the Rise of the Moors, which seems to be connected to the Moors sovereignty movement that claims an 18th century treaty between the U.S. and Morocco grants them special rights. There is little else known about them, but the Poverty Law Center which tracks extremist groups tells CNN they're gaining followers.

HUANG: They don't take driver's licenses. They don't seek gun licenses. They don't pay taxes to the U.S. government. And they try to recruit followers adherence to their country that they've declared by seeking people who might be down on their luck.

GINGRAS (voice-over): After about nine hours, the standoff ended peacefully but police seized eight guns, including assault rifles, as the investigation continues into this group with the help of the FBI.

And in the streets of Philadelphia Saturday --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too scared to take the mask off!

GINGRAS: -- a different extremist organization. Around 200 members of Patriot Front -- who the SPLC identifies as a white supremacist group -- wore shields, covered their faces, carried flags and chanted about a stolen election.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: When something is stolen, you believe, rightfully, that you can get it back through violence.


And that's what we're seeing across the white supremacy groups, across the radicalized right wing groups.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Police say the group had several combative encounters with the public, including throwing a smoke bomb at one point to run away from authorities.

The mayor of Philadelphia tweeted this: Appalled these groups chose Philly as the place to demonstrate their open hatred. Racism, intolerance and hate have no place here.

GINGRAS: And Philadelphia police would not comment if any arrests happened with that demonstration or if so how many. CNN also reached out to both groups but did not hear back.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Law enforcement experts say extremist groups are feeling more confident about appearing publicly. They say former President Trump's acknowledgement of these groups and the insurrection are key factors in their growing visibility and they warn of a growing risk of violent confrontations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: January 6 certainly gave us a taste of what could happen, but we're starting to see more and more of these groups just come out from underneath the cover or wherever they were hiding before. And now it is getting to the point where they are out there to march in Philadelphia on the fourth of July and feel comfortable doing it. I mean, you know this is going to lead to some serious violent confrontations with counter demonstrators believe me at some point in time. And police are going to have to be very, very aware of that and take extraordinary steps to prevent violence.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's interesting to me too that they have tied their actions here to the big lie, to the claims of a stolen election. It shows you how powerful that lie is as an inspirational and motivational element to these extremist groups.

Among your racially motivated extremists, your white supremacists, your militia groups, separatist groups are clearly more active now than they were five years ago, ten years ago certainly. You have to attribute some of that to the national spotlight that they have taken for themselves from things like January 6 rally -- or riot, excuse me. And prior to that, the acknowledgment and kind of implicit, you know, thumbs up that they've been given by the former president.


CHURCH: Police in Georgia are searching for a suspect who drove a truck onto a golf course Saturday and fatally shot a professional golfer. 41-year-old golf pro Gene Siller was found dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. The bodies of two other men were later discovered in the truck. One of Siller's friends is urging the suspect to surrender to police.


RAND EBERHARD, FRIEND OF GENE SILLER: Fair and not my goal even in doing this interview is that this guy would hear the call from the heart of God that says turn yourself in so you can get on with life and really learn what it means to have create created value and purpose in this world. Even as an inmate, you have a long life ahead of you, so turn yourself in and let's get on with life.


CHURCH: The shooting in Georgia is just one of hundreds of shootings over the fourth of July holiday weekend. At least four states saw mass shootings, just a few of the more than 400 shootings across the country from Friday through Sunday. The gun violence killed at least 150 people. That is according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. And these numbers are expected to rise as more data comes in. CNN's Josh Campbell has more.


JOSH CAMPBELL CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: An incredibly violent 4th of July weekend across the United States as we continue to see this deadly wave of shooting after shooting from coast to coast.

According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, at least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the country since Friday as major cities nationwide confront a surge in violent crime. Just a few examples, in Ft. Worth, Texas, eight people were injured Sunday morning in a shooting near a car wash after an argument transpired between a group of men, one of whom opened fire towards a group of people. Most of the victims are believed to be innocent bystanders, police said.

In Norfolk, Virginia, four children were shot on Friday afternoon, including a six-year-old girl. The victims also included a 14-year-old boy, a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. Norfolk Police said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

In Dallas, Texas, police responding to two separate shootings on July 4th, one of which involved five men who were shot, three of the victims were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, one victim had been shot multiple times in a street disturbance, authorities said.

In Chicago, 14 people were killed, including a National Guard member, that according to CNN-affiliate WLS, this over the weekend, during various incidents of gun violence in that city. Two police officers were wounded while dispersing a crowd.


Of course, these are more than just statistics. We're talking about people. And the body count from America's gun violence epidemic continues to rise seemingly with no end in sight.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: To Hong Kong now, and police announced that they have foiled a suspected bomb plot and arrested nine suspects, six of them high school students. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is tracking this live for us from Hong Kong. She joins us now. Good to see you Kristie. So what is the latest on this and what evidence is there to support this claim that high school students were involved in a terrorist bomb plot?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's such a crucial question isn't it? This is what we know at this moment at this hour. Hong Kong police, they say that they have thwarted a suspected terror plot after arresting nine people including high school students on suspicion of terrorist activities under the national security law.

According to Hong Kong police, they say the nine had rented a hostile inside Kowloon of Hong Kong where they were planning to make these homemade bombs. Police also made the claim that these nine individuals were planning to target public facilities with these bombs across the city, including public transit, and courts and across harbor tunnels. Police also add that they found an operations manual in which there were plans to launch an attack using these bombs, that they were planning to make in early July. But according to police, bombs were not made and bombs were not found.

Now of these individuals, five are male, four are female, six are high school students. They're teenagers. They are part of a Hong Kong independence group called Returning Valiant which is active on social media platforms including Facebook. For more on the operation, here is the senior superintendent of Hong Kong police.


STEVE LI, SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT, HONG KONG POLICE (through translator): To establish a homemade lab to manufacture improvised explosive devices in the middle of a busy city is very insane. I think everybody would agree with that. It's very irresponsible. It's very painful to see young people getting involved. It's a heinous act to lure young people into participating in this kind of activity.


STOUT (on camera): Now these terrorists arrests, they were announced today in Hong Kong, coincide with these ongoing claims by the leadership of Hong Kong that terrorism remains a threat despite the national security law which has been imposed for over a year now. Earlier today we heard from Hong Kong's top leader Carrie Lam, the chief executive, she warned of underground terrorist activity and she blamed both domestic, as well as external influences -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong with the details on that. Appreciate it.

Well road trips are on the rise, even as drivers are paying more at the pump. A look at how many Americans hit the road for the long holiday weekend, that's next.



CHURCH: All right, so this driver's luck ran out near Las Vegas. Instead of skipping past this traffic jam, they ended up being pulled over for driving on the shoulder and they weren't the only ones. The Nevada Highway Patrol says they were doing this all day. Traffic was backed up along the highway for hours on Monday as people headed home after the fourth of July holiday.

And similar scenes were playing out across the U.S. over the holiday weekend. Americans returned to the roadways in a big way and the summer travel season is just getting under way. CNN's Pete Muntean reports.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Road trips have come roaring back likely setting a new all-time record over the long holiday weekend. AAA anticipated 43 million Americans would drive 50 miles or more between July 1 and July 5, that number about a 5 percent increase from 2019 back before the pandemic also represents with 90 percent of all travel over the long holiday weekend.

But all of this meant more congestion and it is costing people more. The average price for a gallon of gas now above $3 a gallon, a dollar increase over this time last year. One more factor at play, there is a tanker truck driver shortage. Meaning some smaller stations in smaller rural communities are actually running out of gas.

Even still, a lot of people are getting out. AAA anticipated the top destinations would be Orlando, Disney World, Anaheim, Disneyland. One other factor at play here, is that the cost of rental cars is skyrocketing. Up 86 percent over this time last year. A lot of people are electing to drive themselves rather than fly and rent a car.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.


CHURCH: The CEO of a widely used software vendor says that it's hard to gauge the full impact of a major ransomware hack on his company. The US-based firm Kaseya says fewer than 1,500 businesses around the world have been affected by the recent breach. A criminal hacking group was demanding $70 million in ransom for a decryptor tool. The company says it met with the FBI and cybersecurity authorities Monday night. Experts say it's likely one of the biggest supply chain attacks from a non-nation state ever.

Well updating you now on a story we reported last hour. Russian state media reports the crash site of a regional flight that went missing in the far east has been located. The plane crashed into the sea off the Kamchatka Peninsula. At least 28 people are believed to have been on board. Task News Agency reports officials think the cause was pilot error during poor visibility. And we'll be right back, stay with us.



CHURCH: Movie fans and Hollywood stars are remembering accomplished producer and director Richard Donner. He died Monday at the age of 91. Donner had a remarkable six decade career making many beloved films including the 1978 "Superman" and the family adventure "The Goonies."

The executive producer of "The Goonies," Steven Spielberg remembered Donner as all heart all the time and gifted across so many genres. Donner helped bring new life to buddy movie with his work on the "Lethal Weapon" franchise. He also directed classic episodes of the "Twilight Zone" early in his career, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" starring William Shatner.

Well the Fourth of July fireworks accident has claimed the life of national hockey league player Matiss Kivlenieks. The 24-year-old goaltender who played for the Columbus Blue Jackets died Sunday after a fireworks mortar struck him causing internal injuries. The Latvian native was attending a party in Michigan when the accident occurred. Here's how one team official paid tribute to the player. Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone

with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.

Well a new milestone for Roger Federer at Wimbledon and plus soccer, the Stanley Cup finals and more. Patrick Snell has our minute in sports -- Patrick.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Thanks, Rosemary. And we start with footballs at Copa America on Monday night. The host nation Brazil booking their spot in the final on Saturday in Rio.


The only goal of the match against Peru coming in the first half from Lucas Paqueta, a wonderful skill and vision from Neymar who bamboozled the Peruvian defense. Lionel Messi's Argentina and Columbia later tonight in the other semi.

A huge day ahead too at Euro 2020 with the tournament's first and indeed Blockbuster semifinal is taking place between continental giants Italy and Spain who meet at Wembley in front an expected 60,000 fan crowd. On Wednesday Denmark and England meeting for a place in the final.

To Wimbledon, where we witnessed emotional scenes as the Canadian born British wildcard 18-year-old Emma Raducanu was forced to retire from her match, with Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic for what organizers called medical reasons.

And on the men's side of things, Roger Federer has become the oldest man in Wimbledon history to reach the quarter finals in the open era. The eight time champ sweeping past the young Italian Lorenzo Sonego in straights. Remember, he's just a matter of weeks away from turning 40.

And finally the Montreal Canadians avoiding a Stanley Cup final sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game four on Monday. Montreal winning 3-2 thanks to Josh Anderson's highly dramatic game winner in overtime. Tampa Bay still leads the best-of-seven series though 3-1. Game five is Wednesday. And on that note, Rosemary, it is back to you.


CHURCH: Patrick, appreciate it.

Well some disappointing news for race fans. The Formula One Australian Grand Prix get scheduled for later this year are being canceled for the second year in a row because of COVID restrictions and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic. Racing officials acknowledge the difficulties Australia is still facing with international travel restrictions and they aim to bring these events back next year.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a wonderful day.