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Police Search for Maryland Killer

Aired October 3, 2002 - 12:34   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following a breaking story in Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.: five fatal shootings within the span of only a few hours.
Our Bob Franken is standing by in Aspen, Maryland, not far from Silver Spring, from Rockville, the area where some of these shootings were taking place.

What are you seeing, what are you hearing -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at Aspen Hill, behind me, is a Mobil station where one of the shootings occurred in this spree which started last night. Police are operating on the premise that there is one person is involved. They have a massive search out for a box van of some sort, sort of like the type that you might see that's an Isuzu.

But first let me discuss a couple other things. Number one, the Montgomery County schools are in what they call a code blue shutdown. That is to say students are being kept inside, no recess. Meanwhile, in adjacent Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia, officials there have decided to do the same thing.

This is an event that happened last night. Let's just do it chronologically. Starting at 5:20 p.m. last night at a crafts store on Rockville Pike, which is just a couple of miles away, a man was shot and killed. Then at about 6:00 p.m. not far from that, another person shot and killed when he was walking out of a shopping center. Now we move to this morning. A man cutting his grass along the same road just a couple of blocks away, a man was shot and killed. That was at 7:41 this morning. Then at 9:10, a gas station like the one right in back of me a cab driver was filling up his taxi with gasoline when he was shot and killed. Then a woman was shot near a retirement center not far from here, shot and killed at about 8:37. And just a couple of hours ago, shortly before 10:00 a.m., another person was shot and killed at a gas station at Connecticut and Noles Avenue (ph).

In that particular instance, the woman was doing nothing but vacuuming her car. Suddenly, she went down. There was attendants on the scene, and they rushed over to try and help her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A van, bus, the driver-side door was on her body, putting pressure on her. So we grabbed a jack and raised the car to relieve the pressure from her body. At that time, she was -- my feeling was she was having a heart attack. Then when we tried to release the pressure on her body, then I see that the blood started to come from her mouth and nose. And she was kind of like unconscious. Then the paramedic arrived and they did the necessary things.

QUESTION: This has to be a horrifying experience for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was shock. We didn't experience anything like this. is the first time I see death close that person in that condition.


FRANKEN: Wolf, the police are saying they see no connection between the shootings. Obviously, they feel that there is one person involved, but they believe that these are random acts of violence, and very tragic acts.

BLITZER: Let me interrupt you just now, Bob, because we're getting some new information from the Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. He's now saying this -- and let me be precise and read exactly what he is saying; he's saying -- quote -- "We strongly believe all these are connected." He's going on to say that in a statement that is based on the weaponry that was involved. He goes on to say these are simply victims, and we need to figure out a way to stop this. But the statement says it appears to be a very calculating killer or series of killers.

So it does look at least at this preliminary stage, based on what the Montgomery County police chief is saying, Bob, there may indeed be a connection. Obviously, it's still very preliminary. There must, though, be a sense of great fear where you are.

FRANKEN: That's consistent. And yes, there's a feeling of great fear, and that's manifested in the decision by the school systems, both here and in Washington, to in effect go to a lockdown. Police are also telling parents that they probably should just allow the students to stay in the school, although a parent who was properly identified would be allowed here, in Montgomery County, to take his child out of the school. But police are saying they're probably safer there.

So that is the situation. There is huge apprehension and a massive search as a result. Again, what the police chief just said is consistent with the premise all along, an obvious one, actually, that there is a connection. They're looking at the moment for one person, but they have not precluded the possibility that more than one person is involved.

BLITZER: Bob Franken, we'll be calling on you often in the course of the next several hours. Thanks for that report.


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