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Police chief: Keep kids safe, informed

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

Chief Moose
Chief Moose

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Police have linked the shooting of a 13-year-old boy outside a middle school in Prince George's County to sniper attacks in the Washington area. CNN's Bob Franken reports. (October 8)
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Officials from Marlyland's Montgomery and Prince George's counties announce a joint probe of recent sniper attacks. (October 7)
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Interactive: Gallery: Reaction to the school shooting 

• Gallery: Gallery: Trail of the sniper 
• Timeline: Timeline: Past sniper shootings 

SUSPECT INFORMATION:
Tip lines:
240-777-2600
800-755-9424
$160,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in the shootings.

Suspect vehicle:
White van, possibly an Isuzu or a Mitsubishi, with black lettering on the side.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- Washington-area parents are being asked to watch their children closely following the Monday shooting of a 13-year-old boy after he was dropped off at school in Bowie, Maryland. Eight people have been shot since Wednesday in two Maryland counties, Virginia and Washington. Six of them have died.

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose talked Tuesday with CNN's Paula Zahn about how the investigation is going.

ZAHN: Are you any closer to having a suspect?

MOOSE: Well, I think certainly we continue to work extremely hard. Close is really, in some terms, relative. We're doing everything possible. The science continues to assist us. The investigators, just our skilled investigators, are working very hard. And somehow we feel like we are going to remain aggressive in this matter.

ZAHN: There are a number of folks in the law enforcement community who have said they believe this gunman is killing for sport. Is that the way you view this spree?

MOOSE: It really has been my goal and desire to not really participate in name calling or categorizing. We want our investigators to be very diligent. We want people to keep an open mind. We want to make sure that we don't focus in and get tunnel vision. I just want to be very professional. And a lot of the talking heads, a lot of the different things that people are saying, we just need to ignore that and continue to follow the trail until we can bring this person or these people into custody.

ZAHN: But help us understand the challenge you face every day in deciding what to share with the public. There are those who feel when you try to reassure parents that their kids would be safe at school that in fact this killer might have seen that as a challenge.

MOOSE: Well, certainly anything is possible, and we can speculate. We are very disturbed that someone would hunt down a child deliberately, as we experienced [Monday]. But again people are concerned. We will continue to try to assure our community.

There are many, many targets in the Washington metropolitan area. We know that. We've always known that. Our job is to assure our community. Our children are always so helpless, and, yes, we have always focused on their safety, and we will always continue to do so. We're obligated as adults to do that.

ZAHN: Let's come back to the point you just made that surely there are other targets. Does there seem to be a pattern emerging here? I know Jeanne Meserve, our correspondent, asked you earlier [Tuesday] morning that these shootings have happened, some of them, on weekday mornings. Can you glean a pattern here?

MOOSE: Really, at this point, I can just tell you that all of the people have been innocent. All of the people have been defenseless. It just is mean-spirited. It doesn't make any sense. It's very, very evil.

ZAHN: And it's also true that all the victims were either standing alone or sitting alone, right?

MOOSE: That is correct.

ZAHN: So what is the best advice you can offer parents who obviously have a great deal of fear and ambivalence about returning their kids to school in Prince George's County and Montgomery County?

MOOSE: Yes, ma'am, and I think the message remains the same, that we have to engage with our children. There is a lot of hate. There is a lot of crime. There is a lot of violence that our children face, not only in this community, but throughout America, and not only because of this event, but past events.

And actually there'll probably be future tragedies into the future. So we need to engage our kids, try to explain that, help them make good decisions, but recognize that we continue to need to go forward.

And most importantly, I hope the parents and the community will continue to talk to law enforcement, tell us what they're seeing, be observant. If they know someone that is acting strangely, that is not keeping their schedule, that may have somehow dropped out of their daily routine. We want to talk to them about that. We want to follow up on that lead.

Public safety, law enforcement works best when the police and the community work together. And if nothing else comes out of this, here's another tremendous opportunity for the police and the community to work together to make things better.

ZAHN: I know you also have the help of the FBI and [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms]. How much more help do you need right now?

MOOSE: We're going to continue to ask for as much help as we need. And I want to stress that it's not only those two major agencies, but we've gotten help from the Secret Service, the U.S. marshals, everyone in federal government, all of our local law enforcement partners. Certainly now we're bringing in the U.S. attorney's office to expedite some of our search warrant efforts.

So the whole team has been brought to bear, and we're very fortunate that everyone in the food chain has said yes. They've enthusiastically said yes. And so I feel good that we will not have a resource issue as we work to solve this very terrible crime.


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