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Teen Boy Shot in Washington Area

Aired October 7, 2002 - 09:25   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: If you're back with us on a Monday morning, we want to bring you up-to-date on what we're learning right now.
Prince George's County, the neighboring county to Montgomery, suburban Washington, D.C., where a 13-year-old boy, en route to school about 8:09 a.m. Eastern Time -- which by the clock, Paula, would be about an hour-and-15-minutes ago roughly -- apparently dropped off there with his mother. His mother was walking or, at some point, was escorting the child when he was hit in the chest by a bullet -- extensive bleeding. The mother, in fact, drove her boy to the hospital.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: For some reason, this helicopter is on this shot from WTTG, which appears as though a police car might be giving chase. It's really hard to make out from this picture, but they obviously think this is of some importance. So, we're going to stay on the shot while we're talking about something that's going on at the school. You can't get any sense here of how fast he's going.

HEMMER: That's right. And we want to stress to our viewers again that police have not told us whether or not there is, indeed, a connection to the string of shootings over the past five days and this one today. But nonetheless, given the tension in the area, it is certainly something that deserves a lot of attention at this point.

ZAHN: The police chief of Montgomery County warning everybody not to rush to judgment. He said, until you have a projectile from this latest shooting or a doctor looks at the wound, it's really difficult to make that determination.

Let's go to Jeanne Meserve, who is on the ground, to bring us up- to-date on what she's learned, not only during the news conference, but from the folks she's had a chance to talk with after that -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, we do understand that there will be a statement coming out from the Prince George's County school system. That's expected in about 20 minutes' time. Our understanding is this may be a written statement, not something on camera. We're hoping that will give us a few more details, because details at this point, as you've mentioned, are very sketchy.

All we know is that this child was shot, a 13-year-old, outside Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Prince George's County, which borders on Montgomery County. Montgomery County has been the focal point over the last several days, because of the sniper shootings. Police here saying they simply do not have the details they need to figure out whether there is any connection between the shooting this morning and the others that took place late last week.

I will tell you that they told us this morning they were very nervous about the start of the work week, because there was so much activity. They described this as a "target-rich environment." And there had been some indications last Thursday that this was a time of day, rush hour, when this shooter might apparently like to strike. So, they were nervous; they were concerned.

They are even more concerned now that they have this report of the shooting in a nearby county.

But, again, no connections have been drawn as yet. They will have to look at ballistic evidence. Also, they need to know a little bit more about the circumstances surrounding this shooting, whether there was any sort of altercation...

ZAHN: All right.

MESERVE: ... whether this took place at short range...

ZAHN: Jeanne, we need to cut you off. WTTG is now taking us to a parking lot of what appears to be a shopping mall.

CNN is being told that there has been another shooting here. I'd like to help the audience out here. We have no idea of where these four police vehicles, who just have given chase, have ended up here. So, you're going to have to bear with us. There is a lot going on.

We've got Jeanne Meserve on the ground in Montgomery County talking about the string of sniper killings. We have this latest shooting at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in neighboring Prince George's County.

And if anybody can help me out here, please identify where this mall is. We're going to stay with this picture. This is a picture we're taking from the WTTG helicopter.

For awhile there, Bill, we were watching the shot of what appeared to be one police vehicle taking chase, and then it appeared three others joined them. And this is where they turned off in the parking lot.

HEMMER: The one thing we know, it's a Wal-Mart, and not too far, because it only took virtually three minutes for these police cars to rush down that street and arrive here.

What's happening, we don't know. But what we do know, going back over the past five days, five people gunned down in broad daylight, Paula, all public places in Montgomery County.

Again, we want to stress just in terms of geography, the area where we are today is just east of Montgomery County and Prince George's County, but clearly, there is something that has happened here in this parking lot, because police tore out of that place quickly.

ZAHN: And once again you have to understand, as is the case with breaking news, some of the initial reports that we are given don't entirely -- can't be confirmed. But I guess the best we can say right now, Bill, is that CNN has been told there have been some unconfirmed shots fired here. We're going to try to make sense of this.

HEMMER: Paula, if you think about last week, two at a gas station, one outside a grocery store, another outside a post office, the fifth as a person mowed the lawn, the grass essentially at an auto dealership, a sixth victim killed on a street corner on Thursday. On Friday, a woman shot and wounded in a parking lot in Virginia. She's alive.

Each victim, though, shot from a distance.

If we have videotape at some point, we will remind viewers of what we were shown last week by police investigators, that rifle that was essentially taken out, a high-powered rifle, they clearly had a scope on it, as well. It's important to stress, the reason why there have been no eyewitnesses to any of these shootings is because the individual essentially could shoot from a great distance, possibly 100 yards.

This was the scene on Friday, Paula. We remember watching here on AMERICAN MORNING. That is a high-profile rifle right there with the scope on top, would clearly give the shooter an advantage not only in terms of distance, but also in terms of concealing his location and where the shot was fired.

ZAHN: Jeanne Meserve in her last report was saying that the number of tips is now up to 600 of credible tips the Montgomery County Police Department is giving you. Now, if we are confusing the heck out of you, it's because there's a lot going on here at one time. You've got the Montgomery County angle on the story. You've got the shooting over the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in neighboring Prince George's County, which authorities are saying at this hour they cannot connect the shooting of the 13-year-old to the Montgomery County shootings so far and now this shot. It's hard to give you any context of why we're on this shot but obviously the WTTG helicopter is up in the air for a reason, following the activities, some four police cruisers.

Jeanne, can you add anything to that? Why are we looking at this picture? Do you know?

MESERVE: Well, I'm told that the shot we're looking at now is of a Wal-Mart on southeast Crane (ph) Highway, this is in the Bowie area. Bowie, of course, where that shooting took place this morning at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School. I wish I knew the geography of Prince George's County a little bit more precisely, so I could tell you how far away this is. I do not know precisely.

We do know that the police have put out a description of a white box sort of vehicle, a box-like truck with some lettering on the side, some damage on the back. I've been looking at these pictures myself trying to see if I saw anything that might fit that description in any of these pictures. I have not, perhaps you have. We are still waiting to find out more about the shooting this morning over at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School. We are expecting a statement there in 15 minutes or so.


ZAHN: In the meantime, Montgomery County schools remain open, right?

MESERVE: They are open. They've changed their status somewhat. This morning we were told everything was going to be as normal, there would just be some state police stationed outside some of the schools. However in the wake of the shooting in Prince George's, they decided to keep the kids in for lunch, keep the kids in for recess. They are not in what they call code blue which would be a total lockdown, but they're going to be evaluating the information that comes in from Prince George's County very carefully to see if they have to change the status of the schools. It's described as an evolving situation. Certainly we can understand that.


ZAHN: Jeanne, at a time when the police chief is saying a code blue isn't necessary, help us understand the level of concern parents must have when they're seeing this unfolding on the screen in neighboring Prince George's County.

MESERVE: I am stranded in a parking lot and haven't been able to do any sort of formal sampling of parent opinion, but as a parent myself and, Paula, you can relate to this, I'm sure, it has to be tremendously distressing. Everything we have heard over the last few days is that people have been tremendously distressed about the situation here in Montgomery County, although many have indicated they were simply not going to change their daily habits. They were going to go about their business as usual. They were not going to be cowed by these events. But when it comes to children and schools and shootings and that sort of environment, I think the anxiety level ratchets way up. But once again we don't know if there is any connection yet or if this is an isolated, unrelated issue. We are all waiting to get more information on that.


ZAHN: And we're going to let you do a little reporting on why police investigators have ended up here at this Wal-Mart in Bowie, Maryland.

In the meantime, Bill, maybe we can review for the folks just joining us the -- sort of the three separate stories we're trying to report at this hour.

HEMMER: All within the past 90 minutes, Paula. 8:09 a.m. Eastern time, a young boy taken to school, prior to class opening up, by his mother, getting out of a car apparently. Not a whole lot of detail known about this. Shot in the chest. Extensive bleeding. His mother rushed him to a local hospital where now he is being treated and apparently based on the description we're getting through the police, fighting for his life at this point. Investigators from Montgomery County have been sent to this scene right here that we're watching courtesy of WTTG. Just off the school property it looks like, Paula, a small little driveway leading up into the school. It seems to be the focus of the investigation now and clearly, what they want is the bullet, to take the bullet, compare it for evidence sake and work from there.

ZAHN: And police are now telling us this young man, this 13- year-old who was shot earlier today has been air-lifted to a D.C. hospital and the police chief of Montgomery County saying that no determination can be made whether there is a connection between this shooting this morning and the sniper killings until a projectile is found, until the wounds of this young man are looked at.

HEMMER: Talking with officials earlier today, in fact, in our program we had a few folks on today about the progress they're making or the lack of progress. They insist they have well over a thousand leads but where these leads are taking them is a very legitimate question right now. How close are they getting, if close at all?

ZAHN: Well, there must have been some sort of lead to take them to this Wal-Mart in Bowie, Maryland. And CNN did have some reports about ten minutes ago that there was an unconfirmed report of shots being fired here. We have no more information than that at this hour.

HEMMER: Cliff Van Zandt, the FBI profiler we had on, as well, he says one of the very tricky things about a story like this is the randomness of it. Different races. Different sexes. Different ages. Different times. There's been daytime. There's been morning. There's been evening, as well, and throwing all that together, trying to come up with some sort of profile has been very difficult. We've been watching the story for five days right now. We've had psychological profiles but how specific have they become? We've had personal profiles, but we don't know where they're leading, either. A geographical profile, we know the most of the incidents have taken place in one county and that might be easy assumptions to make right now, but when you get beyond that and look at things like this: white male aged 18 to 30, living and working in the area, single, not successful in relationships, that could be any one of tens of thousands of people in Montgomery County alone.

ZAHN: We should point out that authorities did say late on Friday that a .223 caliber bullet was used to kill four of the victims, that they came from the same weapon, which, perhaps, came from a hunting or assault rifle but that the bullets used in the two other killings, quote, "are in very poor shape" and they might not be able to link those.

HEMMER: Mike Brooks is with us right now by telephone. Mike used to work in the D.C. area. We have used him extensively for certain police investigations going back to the Chandra Levy matter and a number of stories in between time. Can you hear me?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I can, Bill.. HEMMER: Listen, when investigators take off from Montgomery County and they arrive either at this scene in the Wal-Mart, whatever this scene is right now, but more importantly where this 13-year-old boy was shot what are they looking for specifically when they arrive and how long will it take them to determine that there may or may not be a connection with the other shootings over the past five days?

BROOKS: Well, it depends on also the 13-year-old boy was apparently just a short distance from his school. He was shot on the streets. His mother apparently scooped him up and took him to the hospital. They'll send some detectives to the hospital. He was taken to actually to a primary care facility and then transferred by Maryland State Police helicopter to a trauma center. They'll take him there, they'll try to see if they can actually find a crime scene from where the shooting took place, see if there's any shell casings and if they know right then and there, they can see what's on the scene, they'll know whether it was connected or not. If not, they'll have to wait until the bullet is removed, the round is removed from the young boy and then take that to the ATF lab where they've been doing all the comparisons from all the other scenes of the shootings.

HEMMER: Mike, hang on one second for us. This is videotape taken a short time ago. WJAA, I believe, is that right. JLA right there in the area there, taken a short time ago. This is not live but clearly some parents responding to the school as police rope off the area with that yellow tape.

Mike, continue if you could for us. You mentioned the bullet but I think the distance is something also that is quite particular for investigators to know at this point. How do you go about finding out where the bullet came from and from which distance?

BROOKS: Well, as they've been talking about earlier, they're doing a geographical profile as well as a psychological profile. It will come in -- terrain, distances will all come into play. There's only been one shell casing recovered so far in all of the shootings, and that was down in Spotsylvania Mall. And they were able to take that shell casing, along with the round that they recovered from the vehicle that the woman was loading her things into, after the bullet passed through her, it lodged in the vehicle. They were able -- the ATF -- the crime scene folks were able to pull it out in the lab and then make a comparison right away.

Also, Bill, you know, there's reports of shots fired that -- near a Wal-Mart just a short distance away from the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Prince George's County in Bowie, Maryland, and so far, they have not found any victims from the report of shots fired.

HEMMER: Also -- thank you, Mike, for that, again, a clarification noted here as well.

ZAHN: Mike, I am going to keep you on the line, here. We have just learned that the police now who have gone to the Wal-Mart are saying they have not found any victims yet.

Now, the scene at this Wal-Mart in Bowie, Maryland, is a little confusing because we've been taking the live shot of the WTTG helicopter, and there are no reporters on the ground to provide any context for the shot, but we did see four police vehicles arrive on the scene.

CNN was initially told, about 20 minutes ago, that there were some unconfirmed shots -- reports of shots being fired.

Bring into context for us how people in these neighboring communities are reacting to this. On one hand, you have the police chief saying there is no code blue, schools will remain open, but kids aren't going to go outside during recess or during lunch, which is a change. At the same time, being told to go about living their normal lives.

BROOKS: Well, again, Paula, this is going to change things quite a bit, especially in Prince George's County, and Montgomery County, both large suburban areas right outside of Washington, D.C., and in D.C. also, where we did have -- where there was one victim, but then you skip all the way south, about an hour and a half south, to Spotsylvania Mall in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the other victim was. I -- that's a lot of area for someone to cover, and they have linked all these shootings together.

So I think people just have to be vigilant, have to be -- go about their business, but with caution. I know I was talking to some folks that live up in the Washington, D.C. area, and they said, well, I was going to go out to the gas station the other day and get my oil changed, but I decided, well, I will wait.

So I think it is changing some people's lives, but, you know, and that might be exactly what this person is trying to accomplish. You know, what the motivation behind the shooter is has yet to be determined. If you look at the victims, the first thing I thought about was, you know, a hate crime, that kind of motive, but if you look at the victims, they run the whole -- there's black, white, Hispanic, old, young, middle-aged, so I think there's not one thing for law enforcement to focus on. It is making it very difficult right now.

ZAHN: We have seen some of the police cruisers move away from the Wal-Mart. CNN being told by local police there that there was no evidence of anybody having been shot there. I guess it's going to take us a while to learn why they went there in the first place.

In the meantime, we'll stay on this shot from WJLA which shows us the perimeter area around that Benjamin Tasker Middle School where a 13-year-old was shot earlier today.

We are being told the child is suffering from extensive blood loss. He has been air-lifted to a facility in D.C. that is used to dealing with trauma injuries.

HEMMER: Geography-wise, if you know that part of the country, that Wal-Mart, Paula, we're looking at, is about a mile from the school. We watched the police cars rush down that street. Collington, Maryland, is the name of the town, but as you point out, no evidence of a shooting there, so then again, our focus and our concentration goes back to this Middle School and what happened there when a 13-year-old boy was shot. He was being dropped off by his mother, and is there a connection to the past six days, the shootings throughout that area?

That is is the vital question now. If you listen to the police chief, Charles Moose a short time ago, he said he would be back around noon Eastern time. That's about two hours and 15 minutes from now. But right as he left the podium, he said, My hunch is that we'll be back before that time.

ZAHN: I guess we shouldn't read anything into that, because it is going to take a while for doctors to look at this wound and determine whether there is any projectile remaining in this young man.

HEMMER: That's right.

ZAHN: Or where the projectile is, and the police chief is very cautious about this. He said, Look, let's not rush to any judgment here. You can't make a connection until we know what the projectile was, and what kind of wound this young man suffered.

Now, we just saw that shot of a parent being interviewed who had obviously come to take the kid away from school. As Jeanne Meserve said, anybody who has a child can relate to this scene.

HEMMER: Indeed, they can.

ZAHN: Whether this ultimately is connected or not, we don't know, but the fact that the Montgomery County Schools remain open has got to be a huge concern to families living there.

HEMMER: I want to get the chief back here in a minute, in fact, we can cue up some of his interview, in fact, when he briefed reporters a short time ago. Before we get to that, though, you know, one thing he stressed, Paula, is that this is Monday. People are going back to work, people are going back to school. Classes are beginning again, and tension, again, was quite high as they start the workweek, and the school week for that matter. Let's listen to the chief again from a short time ago as we heard it, going back about an hour.


CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: Clearly this is a crime scene in Prince George's County. We're in contact with Prince George's County Police. We have sent Montgomery County Police investigators to the school. We've sent our personnel to the clinic, and we've sent our forensics technicians to assist, to be of anything they can provide to the forensic technicians in Prince George's County.

Clearly, this is an unfolding, evolving situation. It will be monitored. We don't want to jump to any conclusions. We don't want to make any irrational decisions.


HEMMER: Chief Charles Moose from a short time ago. Clearly, they have their work cut out for them yet again today, 9:45 p.m. Eastern time, the shooting taking place at 8:09, just about an hour and 45 minutes ago. Well over a thousand leads right now for investigators to track down.

ZAHN: Let's go back to Jeanne Meserve, who is standing by in neighboring Montgomery County. This shot you're still looking at is from Prince George's County. Jeanne, what have you learned?

MESERVE: That in Prince George's County, officials are allowing parents to pick up their children at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School. That, of course, is where that shooting took place this morning of that 13-year-old boy. Parents being allowed to go there, pick up their kids, take them home.

The other thing we've learned is that Wal-Mart location, which we were showing pictures of a short time ago, they have not found any victims there. The police are calling that an unfounded report at this point.

You were asking some questions about geography earlier. I've been studying a map, and a lot of the development in that part of Prince George's county is very recent, but as best we can determine from talking with people here who live in the area, this Wal-Mart parking lot is a very short distance away from the Benjamin Tasker Middle School, really only a matter, apparently, of a couple of blocks, so we're talking about a very contained area there.

It is some distance from Montgomery County. The countries border one another. Prince George's also borders on D.C. That, of course, where the fatal shootings have taken place. We are expecting to hear from Prince George's County Police, we expect in fairly short order at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School. We are doing our best to bring you anything they have to say to you live -- Paula.

ZAHN: You just mentioned that you learned that they are allowing parents to pick up their children from the Benjamin Tasker Middle School, and I know that Montgomery County schools remain open, and I know you're stuck in a parking lot, but I wonder if officials are concerned when parents hear that the kids aren't going to go outside for recess, and aren't going to go outside for lunch, if maybe they should be taking those kids out of school, even though no connection has been made at this point.

MESERVE: Well, at this point, they are reviewing the situation. They have to get more information about exactly what happened in Prince George's County, they say, to determine exactly what the circumstances were. They will evaluate that new information as it comes in, and make a determination as to whether they either have to go into Code Blue or perhaps send the children home.

At this point, the only restrictions that have been put on children here in Montgomery County are those that you mentioned. They will not be going outside for recess or for lunch. (CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Jeanne -- Jeanne, we're going to pick up WTTG's coverage right now. They are interviewing a student from the school. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We first got in the gym, and they told us to go in our classrooms, so our teachers came and picked us all up. We went in our classroom, and couldn't go anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I imagine you guys must have been scared not knowing what was going on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So -- you came down here immediately to pick up your son?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you -- did you hear about the shooting, did you hear anything -- did any of your friends hear anything this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, my friends heard some stuff, but my teachers told them -- my teacher told them not to say anything, and he took them and sent -- he took the people who knew and sent them to the office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Kim Estrada and Michael, thanks so much for joining us. Obviously concerned, understandably concerned. Thanks for being here.

ZAHN: All right. Jeanne, we just heard a student describing what the scene was like earlier this morning. It's been a shade over about an hour and 50 minutes since reports of the shooting of this 13- year-old at this school.

Apparently, I guess as best we can determine from the police chief of Montgomery County, Bill, he was being dropped off by his mother. I think it was our reporter who first described that they had just gotten out of the car, but that's very hard to determine.

HEMMER: Difficult for us to get details on that. The curious thing about this whole situation, Paula, is tension was high in the first place, and each victim going back to last Wednesday shot once and shot from a distance, and we do know this boy was shot once. We verified that, but from which distance, and is there a connection? That remains the outstanding issue.

ZAHN: Let's go back to Jeanne, and allow here to continue her thought. Go ahead, Jeanne. Sorry we had to break you off there.

MESERVE: That's OK. I just wanted to add one thing. This is the first child who has been shot. All the other victims were adults. They varied, of course, in age and ethnicity and sex, but they were all adults. This is the first child. I don't know if that has any particular significance or not, just thought I ought to point out that this shooting, at least in that respect, is different than the shootings that proceeded it.

ZAHN: Jeanne, also, remind everybody of how many different agencies are involved in this Montgomery County investigation, as well as what happened in D.C. and Fredericksburg. You have got the FBI and ATF involved too, right?

MESERVE: That is right. You have them involved, you have the Maryland State Police involved. You have just a whole host of law enforcement agencies, folks from the federal side and also here within the State of Maryland. It's a massive effort that they're undertaking here. As I mentioned earlier, 952 credible leads as of 6:30 this morning that they are checking out here. That takes a lot of manpower. They are doing everything they can to check each and every one of those leads out as quickly as they possibly can.

They were having a little bit of problems with their phone lines here. The chief saying this morning he believes all of that has been straightened out, that he hopes anybody who has something to tell them that could be useful is now able to reach them. They really are anxious for public input on this. They do believe that that sort of information could be critical to cracking this case and finding the individual or individuals who might be responsible for these shootings.

ZAHN: Very early on Saturday morning, I guess, one news agency went with a report that they actually had a suspect in mind, which the Montgomery County officials say is not a case, but the fact is, they did speak to a man yesterday that had been -- on Saturday that had been reported as missing. Has he been completely ruled out as a potential suspect?

MESERVE: Yes, he has been at this point. They have interviewed this man. They have accounted for his whereabouts. Apparently he had a weapon, which might have fit the description of the weapon used in the sniper shootings. Apparently it had been returned to the store, so he has been eliminated from the list at this point.

ZAHN: And when you talk about the police now having some 952 tips, it is true that Chief Moose has said not all of them are going to lead them to a suspect, but they certainly want the public to continue to keep their eyes and their ears open. What exactly are they asking for?

MESERVE: Well, they have put out the description of a vehicle. You'll remember the white box truck they were talking about last week. They're still interested in any information that might relate to that. In cases of this sort, they usually are asking people to report anything of a suspicious nature in terms of behavior, in terms of comments that they might have heard. That sort of information. As I said, they're casting a wide net. They want to hear it all. I remember covering another case not too long ago where a police officer told me there is no such thing as having too many tips in a case like this. You want more. You want more. You want more, because that could be the thing that will give you the key -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks, Jeanne. We are going to let you continue to do some reporting, and I believe Bill is going to talk with somebody.


HEMMER: In a moment, yes.

ZAHN: ... shed a little more light on what is going on here.

HEMMER: I am hearing one of the students is going to join us by way of telephone in a moment. As soon as we get that established -- want to point out and remind our viewers that this entire community has been going through funeral services for the past couple of days, and a few more, in fact, scheduled today. There is a wake on Monday, today. Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, she is 25 years old, she is a nanny. She is the one, Paula, was shot while vacuuming her van at a service station last week. Sara Ramos, 34 years old, slain while sitting on a Post Office park bench, said to be buried today as well.

Kevin Walters is the parent of a student. We hope to make contact with him -- sir, can you hear me OK? Mr. Walters, are you on the line here? Bill Hemmer, CNN.

All right, sir, can you tell us your whereabouts right now and have you taken your children out and away from the school or not?

KEVIN WALTERS, PARENT: Yes, we are standing on the corner of 197 and the main street for the school, 197 and Route 50, and yes, I've taken my daughter out of the school, and we are proceeding to our vehicle.

HEMMER: Sir, I don't want to hold you up too long here. I know you want to get out of the area, but before you do, can you give us a description for what you are seeing. We have a live picture here that shows us from ground level what is happening at the school, but your perspective is what?

KEVIN WALTERS: From what I'm seeing, I'm seeing a lot of police activities. When I walked up, I saw some police dogs coming out of the wooded areas around the school. I'm seeing a lot of, of course, news cameras and people, but a lot of concerned parents walking toward the school. When I went into school, there were a lot of parents standing in the gymnasium, very concerned, but patient, and the workers at the school are very cooperative in getting the children directly to their parents.

ZAHN: Kevin, Paula Zahn here. Can you tell us whether your child was in school at the time of the shooting?

KEVIN WALTERS: Yes, my child was in school, school was just starting.

ZAHN: And what did she see or -- I'm sorry your child is a girl or what?

KEVIN WALTERS: Yes. My child, Kalila (ph) Walters, she is a seventh grader.

ZAHN: And what did she hear, what did she see?

KEVIN WALTERS: What did you hear or see?

KALILA (ph) WALTERS, STUDENT: I just -- all I heard was about these people, this one person...

KEVIN WALTERS: She said she heard -- she heard that one person had gotten shot out in front of the school.

ZAHN: And can you ask her what happened after that? Was there a sense of panic, what did the kids do?

KEVIN WALTERS: What happened after that?


KEVIN WALTERS: OK, they cut off the driveway in the back, and would not let anyone get through at that point.

ZAHN: And, Kevin, was there any kind of announcement, can you ask her, on the PA system about what the kids were supposed to do? Were they herded together in one room?

KEVIN WALTERS: Was there an announcement on the PA system, what the kids were supposed to do?

KALILA (ph) WALTERS: There weren't any, no.

ZAHN: And so how long -- Kevin, can you find out how long she stayed in that room?

KEVIN WALTERS: How long did you stay in the room? OK. The people who went to the temporary classes were not allowed to go outside, and they stayed in the room until their parents came, and they would not allow them to answer the doors.

ZAHN: Obviously this is a time of great concern, and as you neighbor Montgomery County, is that what went through your mind when you heard about what happened earlier this morning at Benjamin Tasker Middle School?

KEVIN WALTER: Yes, yes. As soon as I heard it, it was, Oh, my God, it's happening here, even closer to home. I was actually in a grocery store getting coffee, and I heard that there had been a shooting, and didn't realize where it was at the time, and they said it was on 197. I said, Where on 197? They said, Oh, it was at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, and I just kind of ran out of the store and came directly to the school.

HEMMER: Hey, Kevin, did you give much consideration to keeping your daughter home today?

KEVIN WALTER: I don't have a problem with keeping her at home because I know that there's going to be quite a bit of confusion around the school today. I don't have a problem with that.

HEMMER: I guess my question was, prior to letting her go to school today, did you think about it? Did it cross your mind to keep her home?

KEVIN WALTER: No, no, not at all. Not at all, because the shootings that had occurred before were sufficiently far enough away so that we still had a level of safety -- a feeling of safety. So there wasn't any real concern at that point except for maybe just going out further -- entering further outside the county.

HEMMER: And did you feel that same way over the weekend? I'm sure you were out in public over the weekend, the weather was pretty nice. Did it cross your mind?

WALTERS: Well, it's something that has been in the back of my mind ever since it happened, I mean, especially considering the type of rounds that were fired, at least from what the news reports said, and knowing the distance those things can travel, you just never know. You could be anywhere, and this could happen to you.

HEMMER: Kevin Walters, parent of a student has taken his daughter out. They're going to go home. So, too, are thousands of others, one has to think, throughout the entire area.


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