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CNN Today

Police Searching for Suspect in National Zoo Shooting

Aired April 25, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A suspected young gunman remains on the run in the nation's capital and gates to the city's National Zoo are closed today after yesterday's shooting there.

At this hour, an 11-year-old is clinging to life and six other teens have bullet wounds.

Gun control supporters say it's more proof that kids and guns don't mix. Kathleen Cory -- Koch with the story now from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gates of the National Zoo are locked. A lone bouquet of flowers rests at the entrance, for Monday evening, just after 6:00, shots rang out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a whole bunch of dudes start running. Everybody thought I was on my way out. And I heard three gunshots, and everybody started running back that way. So everybody started running.

KOCH: Caught in the crossfire, seven children ages 11 to 16 attending the annual Easter Monday African-American Family Celebration. Most will recover. Critically injured but improving, an 11-year-old boy shot in the head, who remains hospitalized.

Police say it all started with an altercation inside the zoo between two groups of teenagers.

CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, WASHINGTON POLICE: These groups had been in conflict for a good part of the afternoon, going at one another. But it wasn't until they were put out of the zoo and they were on -- standing on Connecticut Avenue -- one group on the west side of the street, one on the east side of the street -- they started throwing bottles back and forth, and then someone pulled a gun and began firing into the crowd.

KOCH (on camera): Police say they have good leads on a suspect: an African-American male in his late teens, 5 foot 8 to 5-10, a slight build, wearing a dark jacket and baggy blue jeans. Several rewards have been offered for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

(voice-over): The city's mayor insists the shooting is proof more needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of young people.

MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON: We've got to get kids and guns separated from one another. They don't go together. That's obvious.

KOCH: The zoo hopes to reopen Wednesday, assuring families the shooting was an isolated incident.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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