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Police in Maryland Probing 5 Fatal Shootings

Aired October 3, 2002 - 11:59   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A spree of shootings here, just outside Washington D.C. and Montgomery County. Let's go live right now to Lucille Bower now of Montgomery County Police. She's got some late-breaking developments, an update on what's going on.
Lucille, what can you tell our viewers?

LUCILLE BOWER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Well, at this point, we have had a series of fatal shootings occur in Montgomery County. First began last night at approximately 6:00 p.m. and then we have had four additional fatal shootings this morning. The first at 7:41, the last at 9:58.

BLITZER: Five people are confirmed dead, is that right?

BOWER: That is correct.

BLITZER: And are others injured as well?

BOWER: No, no further injuries. We have five victims. They are of different sexes, different ethnic backgrounds. At this point, we know of no relationship between the victims. We have not been able to identify a suspect or suspects in the case.

BLITZER: Now, Montgomery County is a big county, for our viewers around the United States. I happen to live in Montgomery County, so I know the county very well. It's just outside the nation's capital. These shootings occurred within what kind of distance from each other?

BOWER: These shootings occur first in the Aspen Hill area and then in the Rockville area. Both are within a 30 to 40 minute proximity to Washington D.C.

BLITZER: Is it the suspicion of investigators that these are related, these five shootings are related?

BOWER: We are certainly going to investigate them in that manner. However, we have no direct evidence to link the shootings at this time.

BLITZER: We're looking at a live picture, Lucille, of a truck that appears to have been pulled over at a shopping center someplace in Montgomery County. Are you looking specifically for certain trucks or cars? are there suspects, sightings that you can share with our viewers?

BOWER: Yes. We cannot confirm that this vehicle was absolutely directly related to any of these incidents, but a particular truck was seen leaving a post office where a female victim was fatally shot this morning at 8:37. So we did post a lookout for a white possible Isuzu box-type delivery truck with black lettering, surrounded by a purple border on the side of the truck and possible damage to its rear lift door. So we are looking for that type of delivery truck.

BLITZER: There's an all-points bulletin looking for that truck.

BOWER: That's right.

BLITZER: Tell our viewers also, Lucille, what kind of alerts you've given to the community, schools. Parents are obviously very concerned what's going on.

BOWER: Yes, obviously this is a matter of grave concern to our citizens, particularly our parents. And our school system has gone to what we call a code blue. We have all the students remaining inside their schools. In other words, there will be no outdoor recess, high schools that offer an open lunch allow students to leave campus will not be offering that today. We are asking that parents not go to schools to pick up their children. We do believe all children are safe in their schools, but keeping they within the schools.

BLITZER: Five shootings within a span of only a few hours here in Montgomery County just outside Washington D.C. At this preliminary stage, Lucille, does it look like the five shootings had the same kind of weapon involved?

BOWER: We can't go into that kind of direct evidence at this stage of the investigation.

BLITZER: And could you tell us were they just like drive-by shootings or were they up close?

BOWER: You know, I don't have that specific information on each individual case. They may have varied between the five different incidents. I don't want to give any information that hasn't been confirmed for us at this point.

BLITZER: We're seeing a tow truck take away another truck, a dark truck, not a white Isuzu by any means, that may or may not be involved at all in these series of shootings.

For individuals who may have information involving these shootings, what should they do?

BOWER: Call 911. If there is someone out there that believes they may have information, we certainly do not want anyone to be in direct contact with someone that they believe is responsible for these shootings. Call 911.

BLITZER: Lucille Bower of Montgomery County Police, thanks for your time. We'll be checking back with you as this breaking story continues to unfold.

We're monitoring the situation in Montgomery County, right outside of Washington, D.C. Five shootings within a span of only a dozen or 15 hours or so.

Let's bring in Jeff Seldin, WTOP radio here in Washington -- Jeff, what do you know about what's going on? What can you tell us?

JEFF SELDIN, WTOP: Well, we don't know much more than what police are telling us right now. We know that there are five shootings, five people dead from these shootings.

The first one happening last night outside a shopping center, outside a grocery store. A 55-year-old man gunned down. Police reported hearing a pop or some sort of clap, and they saw him fall. Police, as of this morning, were looking for clues, evidence. And then, this morning, we started hearing about more shootings, a gas station, outside a post office, and then another gas station.

We're also hearing from police that there may have been another incident even earlier, also within the same radius that we're talking about here in Montgomery County of a shooting where no one was hit, people reported, near another shopping center, hearing some sort of gunshot, but that was it, and this was before the first instance last night where the 55-year-old man was killed.

That is all we are hearing at this time. We're also getting in lots of reports all over the D.C. area of vans being pulled over, police looking at these white -- these white vans, either Mitsubishi or Isuzu, these box vans, as they're calling them, and pulling those over and causing delays all over the area, and there are a lot of people in this area obviously very concerned right now.

BLITZER: How unusual, Jeff -- you have covered this community -- how unusual is it to have a series of shootings that may or may not be related, could be random, in a span of only these few hours?

SELDIN: In my entire career, Wolf, I've never seen anything like this, extremely unusual. When you have a shooting here or a shooting there, especially in the D.C. area, Montgomery County not so much, but it is not unusual for there to be a shooting a gas station, perhaps a robbery, but for this one after another after another, in such close proximity, it's not anything that I've seen while I've been here in the last few years.

BLITZER: Jeff Seldin of WTOP All News Radio here in Washington. We'll stay in touch with you as well. Thanks for joining us.


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