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Maryland Boy Shot at School

Aired October 7, 2002 - 10:42   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are now back at about 18 minutes before the top of the hour continuing with our coverage of this breaking story coming to us out of Bowie, Maryland, this morning: a young boy shot on the way to school, being walked to school by his mother. Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're seeing a live picture from that school right now, Prince George's County, in Maryland. That is where we expect a news conference; at the top of the hour, you'll see that live here.

Of course, this getting so much attention not by -- not just from what happened, the terrible thing that happened to this young teenager earlier today, but the possible relation -- and police have not said for sure it is related -- but the possible relation and how much it looks like the shootings that took place late last week in Montgomery County, which is the next county. And that includes five people shot and killed in a 16-hour period from Wednesday into Thursday and then a sixth victim shot Thursday in D.C. and then a seventh person wounded in Virginia.

The 13-year-old boy listed in critical condition, fighting for his life at a local children's hospital.

HARRIS: Shot in the chest and the abdomen.

KAGAN: And that's one thing that's different that we've talked about, that if indeed these are related to the other shootings, this would be the first one where the victim was shot twice.

HARRIS: And again, the police aren't saying for sure. They don't know if there is a connection. We're talking about this now, this shooting happening in Prince George's County versus the Montgomery County action that happened last week. As a result, officials in both counties are taking all necessary precautions. We understand that Montgomery County, which is the neighboring county, has locked down its schools and that order was issued just a little while ago. We also understand Prince George's County also has its schools under lockdown, meaning that the children will not be allowed to go outside for recess or lunch or anything like that; they have to stay inside the building.

We have been watching this steady stream of parents here at Tasker Middle School, parents who have arrived to take their children home. Parents have not been told that they have to, but many parents are taking it upon themselves, and police are saying that you can do so, but the parents have to go through the necessary precautions like identifying themselves and making sure that the children are going home with the right person.

KAGAN: Exactly.

HARRIS: Now, we also have with us -- we have some tape right now of an interview that was done with a father who was there near the school and who is reporting that he heard the shooting. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard -- I heard like this gunshot, and then I looked out the window and I saw four teachers coming out. And then I saw a cop pulling off. And the guy just said it was like the mom rushing like her kid to the health center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you heard the gunshots, you had to be scared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I wasn't scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You weren't scared at all. You had to be concerned about whatever was going on across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was like a tire pop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you didn't even know what it was.

OK, Mark (ph), you were also across the street at the time. What did you hear and what did you see?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was walking on top of the hill, and I just heard someone say pow, and then I heard a woman screaming. And I didn't know what was going on. I thought it was like a car had backfired or something like that, so I just kept on walking until I went up to the house and they asked me what was that noise, did you hear something say pow. I said yes. And all of a sudden, I just heard policemen coming, and so I figured something was going on.


KAGAN: And looking at a live picture from very close by there today, our Bob Franken is on the scene at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland, and brings us the latest.

Bob -- hello.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is we're waiting for a news conference from the police chief. And it has not been an absolute sure thing that this is the same shooter or at least the same weapon. Some unofficial reporting we've gotten saying there are some initial characteristics which showed on the child who was shot that do not necessarily match. But obviously it's too early to say this. Police are treating it at the moment as if they are connected. There's very little that they have to go on that they're telling us about. Some people heard the shots, but no reports of any witnesses. Now, outside the school where we are now, there's obviously a very heavy police presence. And there's been since probably an hour after the shooting a steady stream of parents coming to get children. Some of them are still leaving the school. In one case, with the permission of the parent, we talked to one of the children who was inside. His description was that things were chaotic once the word spread. A lot of people were crying. They were all locked into their classes until their parents could arrive. And things generally calmed down.

This neighborhood, by the way, is in Prince George's County, which is in an area adjacent to Montgomery County, where the first ones occurred. One little tidbit which may or may not have any relevance, the first shooting that occurred last week occurred when somebody and missed somebody at a Michael's craft shop, which is a chain of craft shops in the area. The one that occurred over the weekend in Virginia, outside a Michael's craft shop. One officer is telling me that in this particular shooting a Michael's craft shop is about a mile from here. Whether it has anything -- has anything to do with one another, nobody knows.

As far as the parent who brought his kid out today, he said that he was not planning to keep (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at home tomorrow. He set we cannot let terrorists rule our lives.

We are expecting a news conference any moment apparently from the school superintendent, but we'll get back to you with that as soon as we know more.

KAGAN: Bob Franken, there on the scene at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.

As he mentioned, we're expecting a news conference 12, 13 minutes from now, at the top of the hour. Of course, we are going to show you that live here on CNN.

Big part of the story being parents. Parents concerned about this sniper still on the loose, whether or not related to the situation this morning. You have a parent taking the son to school today, the son still shot. And now the story with parents wanting to get their kids and pick them up and bring them home, where they believe it's safer.

HARRIS: Let mow make one observation here. We heard that father say that he heard the sound of the pop, pop, and he described it as sounding like a car backfiring. Last week, when we were doing the live coverage of this, there was a report on one of -- I believe it was the shooting that happened at the Shell gas station. It happened across the street from a police precinct. And the police officers inside the precinct said they were able to hear it inside their brick building, and it sounded so loud they rushed outside to see what was going on.

Now, it would seem to me and we were also talking with Clint about the types of weapons here, the type of weapon you would need to shoot a .223 round used last week makes an incredibly loud noise. You would not necessarily mistake that, I don't believe, for a car backfiring. It sounded so loud that people were able to hear this 100, 200 yards away through a brick wall in a police precinct. In this case, this ear witness was actually out there in the same area and it sounded like a car backfiring to him.

KAGAN: Looks like we might be getting a little close to this news conference. We will monitor that situation on the ground as that is ready to begin.

A couple points on that. One, we don't know -- we're not sure that these are related.

HARRIS: Of course.

KAGAN: Looks like this news conference is beginning. Let's listen in, Prince George's County, Maryland.


IRIS METTS, PRINCE GEORGE'S SCHOOLS: ... the shooting before school started. I want to assure parents that immediately after we were informed of this incident, that we instructed all of our principals to go to code blue, which is we are locking down all of our schools. We are keeping our students in for the recess period, and we have canceled all afternoon activities. So right now, we're on high security alert. We have extra security in buildings. We're very concerned that we keep students in buildings.

The situation at Tasker right now is a little fluid. We're trying to get kids back home to their parents from this one school only. Just Tasker Middle School. All other schools, we are securing students in those buildings. So I want to repeat to parents that we're doing everything possible to make sure that students are in buildings and secured with adults. We're not going to allow children to go out for lunch or on playgrounds or any outside activity will be supported for this school day.

We will assess the situation in Tasker in just a few moments. We are taking roll. We're trying to orderly get kids back to their families. We seem to have a cooperation of the parents, and they're not panicking in any way. We probably will have additional updates about school activities at a later point.

I'm not going to comment at all on any police activity, because I don't have the information at hand. So we're going to leave that to our police chief and our police officials to tell you specifically what happened in this matter as far, as a police investigation is taking place.

I'll take just a couple of questions, but I won't take many.

QUESTION: Dr. Metts, have you heard anything about the condition of the young person? Even the age (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

METTS: I know that it is a middle school male. He was being brought to the school by his aunt. I do know that he was MediVaced to Children's Hospital. We were in contact with the hospital staff, and I have staff at the hospital right now. From what I understand, it is a serious condition. He is alive.

QUESTION: So it's not life threatening? Is it life threatening?

METTS: I cannot comment on whether or not it's life-threatening, but I know the student -- it was his aunt -- and I know the student is alive now.


METTS: We're not certain of the grade level at this point, but right now, because of the fact that the police have roped off Tasker Middle School as a crime scene, we are trying to help parents get children at this point.


METTS: At this point, yes. Only for the middle school. Please don't report any other school. We would want parents to leave children in every other school in the district. This is the only school that we have some concerns about. We would request that parents would work with us: Leave your children in school, please. And we will secure them in school and dismiss them appropriately with additional security at the end of the school day.

Tasker Middle School is the only situation in which we do have to have parents with children, because of the police, the ongoing police investigation.

QUESTION: But obviously you can understand that parents would be extremely nervous about leaving their kids in school (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

METTS: I can understand that. And I really understand that parents are concerned. But I think under the circumstances, the safest place for the children right now is inside of that building with adults. So I think it is in the best interests of the children that they stay inside of the schools and that they're not out and about at this point. I think that would be even a more dangerous situation, for students to be out. So we're not going to dismiss school and we are going to secure students within buildings.


METTS: It is a middle school. And I'm not sure of the grade level of the young man. But at this point, I think we probably have about 700 students in this middle school.

QUESTION: Dr. Metts, what are the students in Prince George's schools being told about the code blue situation, the reason for it -- high schoolers in particular?

METTS: I think we are obviously telling them what they're hearing from the media, that there has been a shooting, and I know that they also know there were other shootings in the area. So I think they understand that we are on a high alert and that we're being very cautious and that they should be very cautious. We will have counselors into buildings, talking to students. But in any of these situations, we try our best to secure students and to make them feel as secure as possible.

QUESTION: What about dismissal? (OFF-MIKE)

METTS: We're going to be very, very, very, very careful with dismissal today. We're going to be very cautious at how we dismiss at every school, with a maximum effort to put staff members out by the buses in the surrounding areas for students, and also additional security with students walking home. We are going to coordinate our efforts with the police officials as we did when the shootings occurred elsewhere. We're going to make sure that we have extra police present around schools at dismissal time.

QUESTION: Was there extra police presence this morning because of the shootings last week?

METTS: I think we probably had more police presence at the border between Montgomery and Prince George's than we've had all week. I would say that this was unexpected.

QUESTION: Dr. Metts, I have two children in the public school system. Do you have any idea what your school securities will be -- personnel will be doing to secure my two children in the public school system here?

METTS: Well, I think, Mr. Chivalier (ph), in all cases, we are going to be watching the dismissal right now, because that's when the children will be going outside, at the end of the day. So we're going to have extra security around all schools at dismissal time.

QUESTION: Thank you, Dr. Metts.


METTS: I'm not aware of any buses that are any distance away from the school. Our buses usually load at an entrance point close to the school, and we'll make sure that those buses are loaded and watched and that there will be adults that are there to observe and to look after the kids.

QUESTION: For the record, what is your name and title.

METTS: I'm Iris Metts, and I'm, CEO, chief executive officer of the Prince George's County Public School System.

QUESTION: Dr. Metts, what message do you have for parents today?

METTS: Well, we live in very dangerous and unpredictable times. But I think as adults, we need to remain as calm as possible. I would plea with parents to be models, to help out children. They depend upon us. And hopefully all of the adults and professionals in the school system will also be models. We don't need to panic. We need to let our children know that we're there for them and remain secure during these incidents. Thank you.

KAGAN: We've been listening in to a news conference with Iris Metts. She's with the Prince George's County Schools, giving us the latest on the situation there given that the shooting that took place earlier today. She did not have a lot of details on the exact shooting, leaving that to police officials. And we will be getting to that in just a moment.

But basically, as we've been telling you for most of the morning, 8:09 Eastern a boy going to school with his aunt dropping him off shot, shot twice, and that boy is now being treated for trauma, listed in serious or critical condition at a local children's hospital.

Meanwhile, the situation on the schools in Prince George's County, they have gone to a situation, a level called code blue. That means the schools are in lockdown, so there's no outdoor recess for the kids in this county and no afternoon activities. And at this particular school, this middle school in Bowie, Maryland, where the shooting took place, Benjamin Tasker Middle School, they are asking parents to come and pick up their kids and take them however home. However, that is the only school in the county; every other school there asking parents please leave your kids in school.

Our Bob Franken is on the scene at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, where the shooting took place, where we just listened in to that news conference. Let's bring Bob in now.

Bob -- hello.

FRANKEN: We've been watching throughout the morning a steady stream of parents bringing -- picking up their children to take them home.

Let me just ask -- did you just pick up your son? Can I ask you how you heard about this, what you did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was getting coffee -- I work in D.C. and I saw it on the screen in D.C., and I got to my office and turned the TV on and realized it was Benjamin Tasker school. So that's why I came right over to pick him up.

FRANKEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Can you tell me what happened (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I got through (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the busses, there was a whole bunch of cops, and I didn't know what happened. So the teacher told us, and she said a boy got shot. And we were wondering who it was.

FRANKEN: What was it like inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like -- they were forcing everybody to move fast and quickly and don't stay in the hallways. And we were just staying in our first class for a long time. FRANKEN: At any rate, that's been a similar story we've got. Thank you very much. The parent, a very concerned parent, of course, coming to get his child as quickly as he could. It's been something that's been repeated throughout the morning.

Talking about an area that I would describe as your stereotypical middle-class neighborhood in Prince George's County which is adjacent to Montgomery County. This is the junior high school with the chief executive officer of the school board said that it is about a 700- member student body. The children leaving, but the parents are being implored to leave their kids in the other school. As she said, this is not a time for panic, speaking to the parents. They need to be as calm as possible in what she described as a very dangerous and unpredictable time -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And, Bob, as I think it was Iris Metts, the official we listened to, she was encouraging at the school where you're at, at Benjamin Tasker, parents pick up their kids. But other schools in the county, they think it's much better for kids to stay in school and stay under what they call code blue.

FRANKEN: Right. And of course the apprehension levels going to rise. As those schools will let out, they said they're going to provide extra security, not only when they leave the school, but for those children who walk home. And what sets this school apart, of course, is the fact that it is a crime scene.

We should be getting more information in a short while from the chief of police. We don't know exactly when that news conference is going to be held. We're told, "soon" but obviously that's something that we're going to watch very closely.

KAGAN: And, Bob, I know you're at the middle school. I don't know if you can see what we're showing on the screen right now, but it looks like some kind of police chopper landing on what looks like it could be the soccer or activity field there at the school.

FRANKEN: Well, you're going to see an awful lot of that. What you have here is a mutual aid policies, they call them in many jurisdictions, where in fact state police and police from different jurisdictions send their experts, different federal agencies. You're going to see the highest, most sophisticated kind of technology brought into this case, one, that even with that, has really perplexed people, meaning -- people meaning authorities, who have just not been able to crack something out which has really held people in a state of extreme nervousness, I think is a fair way to describe it in the Washington area now for about five days.

KAGAN: And as we've established throughout the morning, it's still not completely clear that this shooting that took place today is any relation to those that took place late last week. And yet people are understandably nervous and making that connection.

FRANKEN: Well, obviously, for the obvious reason, of course, they would be investigating on that premise. But at the same token, when we have private conversations with different officials, they say that there might be some differences. But it's really too early to tell.

KAGAN: All right, Bob Franken in Bowie, Maryland. Thank you. We'll check back with you. Leon?

HARRIS: I just want to clarify one thing for those nervous parents there in Prince George's County. Iris Metts, the CEO of the school system, is instructing only the parents of Tasker Middle School, the parents of children in that school, are the only ones that are supposed to be going to school to pick up their children. So, in fact, we have that segment of the press conference on tape right now. We want to play that back just so the parents right now who happen to be in that area, if you're concerned, we want you to listen to Iris Metts.


IRIS METTS, CEO, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND, SCHOOLS: And I really understand that parents are concerned. But I think under the circumstances, the safest place for the children right now is in inside of that building, with adults. So I think it is in the best interests of the children that they stay inside of the schools, and that they're not out and about at this point. I think that would be even a more dangerous situation for students to be out, so we're not going to dismiss school. We're going to keep school in session. And we are going to secure students within buildings.

HARRIS: As we've been saying all along this morning, there is no -- right now, no confirmation or no indication that the shooting that happened here at the Tasker Middle School is in any way related to the shootings that happened last week in Montgomery County. However, police are taking all precautions and are investigating, because of the concern there may be some connection.

And joining us now on the phone is Lucille Baur with Montgomery police. As I understand it, Montgomery police are actually coordinating this investigation. Is that correct?

LUCILLE BAUR, SPOKESPERSON, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND: Well, we are working in cooperation with Prince George's County police. The crime scene did take place in Prince George's County, so they are the primary responding law enforcement agency. But we obviously are offering aid in this investigation. As soon as we had been able to confirm with Prince George's County police that this was, indeed, a shooting, we sent detectives both to Benjamin Tasker Middle School and to the health care facility where the victim was originally taken.

HARRIS: Can you tell us at all what they learned when they did get to that -- when they got to those locations? Is there anything significant?

Sorry, we've lost that phone connection there with Lucille Baur, who is with the Montgomery Police Department. As we said, as she was beginning to tell us, Montgomery police are getting involved with this investigation. They want to make sure that they can find out. We have not been able to confirm whether or not there is a connection with the shootings that happened in Montgomery County and the one that happened this morning. But they're trying to find out if there is any link or any similarity thereto. So we'll keep our eye on that and we'll try to get some more information from Montgomery police to see exactly what's going on behind the scenes here in this kind of situation.

KAGAN: And understandably, when you have these different geographic locations, you're going to have these different law enforcement agencies. The FBI is also involved, ATF, you have these different county and police organizations.

And let's bring in our Jeanne Meserve. She's been with us since early this morning, tracking this story. She's in Montgomery County. This is the site of last week's shootings. Of course, the point that is putting the spotlight on this entire story. Jeanne, hello.


First of all, to let you know that Prince George's County is not the only one taking precautions where schools are concerned. Here in Montgomery County they have escalated to a code blue situation. Also in the District Of Columbia children are being kept inside, outside activities are being canceled. Increased police presence around the schools, increased security inside the schools. D.C. officials saying they do believe that the schools are safe. They do say if parents want to pick up children earlier they will have to have proper i.d.

As you mentioned, a great deal of concern about this shooting, in neighboring Prince George's County. Authorities here very much wanting to get a handle on whether or not there is any connection between the shooting this morning and those last week. They have sent investigators over to Prince George's, as well. They have sent forensic experts, ballistics are going to be very important here. If they can recover anything from this round, they are going to want to do so in order to determine if it came from the same weapon that was used in the shootings last week. And so a full-court press being put here in terms of the investigation. We will have our next press briefing in about an hour's time. We hope to get more information there about what investigators have found about a possible connection, if any -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes. And that one's at noon. We are expecting -- well, we just had that other news conference from Prince George's County with the education officials, with Iris Metts, on the situation there.

HARRIS: We understand now there's going to be a police briefing.

KAGAN: That's what Jeanne was talking about.

HARRIS: OK. Very good.

KAGAN: All right, Jeanne Meserve, thank you so much -- Leon.

HARRIS: One other observation that I would like to make is that last week we note that Montgomery County schools did go into a not exactly a code blue situation, when the shootings happened, and they didn't happen anywhere near a school. That's just how concerned they were about the kids there when the shootings were happening at the retail outlets that we covered last week. Montgomery County, one of the first things that we reported was that they were going to consider going to a code blue and they locked all the schools down last week.

Now today we see a threat at a school, and they're again -- and not even in Montgomery County -- and Montgomery County is going to code blue already. As we said before, Prince George's County, as well, does have its schools locked down today.

KAGAN: Just to repeat what a code blue means. It means they're in lockdown. The school is literally locked. There is no outdoor recess, no afternoon activities. But, except for Benjamin Tasker Middle School, which is where the shooting took place early today, parents are being encouraged keep your kids in school. That really is the best and safest place for them.

HARRIS: We've been identifying the person with the boy this morning as his mother. And we learned at the press conference from Iris Metts that it was actually the boy's aunt who was walking him to school, or walking him into the school.

KAGAN: Or dropping him off.

HARRIS: Or dropping him off, or whatever.

KAGAN: In any case, it was an adult family presence. It's what you would expect in this situation. Maybe this happens on a daily basis with the family. You don't know. But in this particular case, the family took a precaution to escort their child to school and yet this still happened. And I think that's one thing that's just so frightening to parents out there. What more can you do to protect your child?

HARRIS: In each of these cases, tragically, every single person who was the victim in the last five, six days, was doing exactly what normal people do on normal days. Going to the post office.

KAGAN: Going to work. Driving a cab.

HARRIS: Going to the gas station. Exactly. Driving a cab. And here's a case where -- and, again, we don't know if there is a connection, but again, a case where unfortunately -- unfortunately someone was doing something they always do, and they do every day, something as simple as going to school.

KAGAN: Let's bring Bob Franken back in. He's at the middle school, at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.

Bob, what do you have?

FRANKEN: Well, what I want to emphasize is what Leon just emphasized, that we don't know that there's a connection. The police have some questions about whether there's a connection between the shootings. Of course at the moment they're treating this as a connection with all the other shootings that have gone on. But they don't know if in fact there is a connection or at least a direction. We're now being told that the chief of police for Prince George's County is going to be appearing at 11:30, at 11:30. He's going to be coming and addressing the cameras. Maybe we'll get some of these questions answered.

Right now, the scene is this. You're seeing groups of students. Students are walking out of the school. Their parents have been going as quickly as they can get here to pick them up.

Let me see if this woman wants to talk to us. She does not, as a matter of fact. So many of them don't. All they want to do is get out of this area.

Can you tell us what you saw?


FRANKEN: (OFF-MIKE) ... like in the school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody's calm. We were all good. They had us stay in our first class. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We didn't have no work to do.

FRANKEN: And then the parents came as quickly as they could find out and picked up the kids. But you're getting a general picture as you hear the children inside talk -- by the way, with their parents' permission --as you hear the children talk about the situation in the school. Officials work very quickly here to put into effect what amounts to a lockdown. Of course, they're allowing the parents at this particular school, since it is a crime scene, to pick up their children. At all the other schools in Prince George's County, they're asking the parents not to come and pick up their kids. There will be no outside activities, no recess, no lunch hour off campus at any of the other schools in Prince George's County, as police try and ascertain what this one was all about.

Now, give everybody a quick geography lesson. Prince George's County is another one of the Washington suburbs in Maryland, which is adjacent to Montgomery County where all the shooting spree occurred starting on Wednesday night. We don't know if it's related. They're continuing to investigate, to investigate if there's some similarities or dissimilarities between the weapons. And as I said, we'll probably hear more when the police chief comes out here at 11:30 Eastern.

KAGAN: You mentioned that's happening at the bottom of the hour. Of course, we're going to show that to our viewers live.

Bob, obviously, this school is a crime scene, because this is where the shooting took place earlier this morning. And that's one of the reasons they're encouraging the kids to go home with their parents. How restricted -- by just looking at the pictures, we can see some yellow tape. But you have this -- you want to restrict it because it's a crime scene for evidence. But you also want to get the kids in and out of there. So I'm wondering how restricted the area is around that school. FRANKEN: Actually, it's really sort of settled very quickly into routine. Understand that ever since September 11, in particular, the Washington area has had its police departments, its federal agents rehearse this over and over and over again. There are policemen out here who are directing traffic, directing us, keeping the cameras away. That's mainly what the yellow tape is for. But the parents, they can show proper identification; they are obviously being allowed inside the school to bring out their children, which they're doing. And just walking up the street to their cars or whatever. Yes, of course, the yellow tape surrounds the school area, about a square block around the school -- or three square blocks -- so the investigation can go on.

HARRIS: Bob, let me ask you something. The kids and the parents that you've been able to talk to this morning, have any of them told you whether they know who this boy is? Have they been able to identify who it was who was shot?

FRANKEN: We don't have an identification yet. We don't have an identification, we don't have the age of the child, although we're told that a relative took him to a nearby small hospital before he was transported to Children's Hospital. But the short answer to your question is no.

HARRIS: I'm just saying I know we don't have that information. But I'm just wondering if the kids who have been coming out of there, if they know or if they've been able to, maybe by the process of elimination or whatever, even if they didn't see what happened, if any of the kids have told you that they know who it was.

FRANKEN: Nobody has said that to me. So the answer is, quite frankly, I don't know.


KAGAN: We're going to let Bob go. Looks like some more information, as he mentioned, expecting a police news conference right from there with officials from Prince George's County at the bottom of the hour. Of course. we'll show that to you live.

Very helpful in our coverage in the last hour was reporter Judlyne Lilly; she's with WTOP radio. And she was bringing us some very important information in the last hour. We'd like to bring her back and see if she has anything new.

Judlyne, hello once again.


There is some new information. According to the chief executive officer of the Prince George's County Schools, the 13-year-old boy is now in surgery and in serious condition. If you remember, when he was brought to the hospital with chest and abdomen wounds from a bullet, he was in critical condition and bleeding profusely. Now he's in surgery, and they believe he is in at least stable condition right now. KAGAN: And he's being operated on at the little children's hospital? Is that correct?

LILLY: Right. The children's hospital here is well known for treating children with dramatic injuries.

KAGAN: And we were trying to trace the root of this boy. His aunt, as we understood, took him to school. And then once he was shot, she actually transported him to the hospital?

LILLY: Yes, she did -- well, she transported him to a small health center, which was nearby, close to the school. And then he was transported by helicopter to Children's Hospital, which is in Washington, D.C., just outside of Prince George's County.

KAGAN: And as you're reporting, he's in surgery, as we speak.

LILLY: He is in surgery, according to the Prince George's County superintendent.

KAGAN: But so far, no identification on the boy?

LILLY: Yes, no, they are not telling you what his name is, and they've also not told you the name of the survivor from Friday. She was shot in the back. She is now in stable and fair condition. But we do not know her name, either. And they're doing that on purpose, because, of course, if the sniper is still out there, as police believe he is -- he or she is -- then that means that they could get to her if they know where she is and who she is.

HARRIS: Judlyne, Leon here.

LILLY: Hello.

HARRIS: That was actually some very quick thinking by this aunt to get the boy to that medical center. How far away is that from the school?

LILLY: Well, you know, I can't say right now. I don't know. But I can tell you regarding the quick thinking of this relative, parents here are very much on alert, and many children were driven to school today, when they normally would have walked, or taken a bus, or gone on some other means other than by their parents. And so these parents are very alert, very aware. So as soon as this child went down, she knew what to do.

And we have a comment from a friend of the little boy, who says that the little boy is always friendly and funny. And then this child who is describing his friend says he cried and put his head on his mother's shoulder as he was talk talking about his friend who got shot. So that will give you some example of what's happening to the children in this tense, tense situation.

HARRIS: Understandable.

KAGAN: We had a chance to visit a little bit earlier with a mother who has a young child who goes to a different school, a nearby school, but you could just hear in her voice her fear, which must be gripping many parents in this area.

Yes. It is very much a fear. And in fact, to answer those fears, the school districts in Prince George's County, Montgomery County, and the district, and some school districts in Virginia, across the river, have canceled after-school activities. They have locked down the schools. If you come to the school to get a child, you will need to show ID, and if you don't have proper ID, that child will not be released. It's this sort of precaution that these schools are taking.

KAGAN: Very helpful. WTOP's Judlyne Lily, thank you so much. I'm sure we're going to be checking back with you before the day is over.

LILLY: You're welcome.

KAGAN: Bringing us that new information that the boy who was shot at Benjamin Tasker Middle School earlier today, just over three hours ago, is now in surgery at a local children's hospital.

HARRIS: As you can see three hours later, the steady stream of students and children who are leaving this Benjamin Tasker Middle School. Parents have arrived there, and they are going inside and walking out with their children.

And once again, if you're watching this and you happen to be in that area or in the district, do not go to the school to pick up your child unless your child is at Benjamin Tasker Middle School.

KAGAN: Leon, it's been interesting to watch the steady stream of parents and students who are walking out of the school. There hasn't been a great flood. I don't know if that has to do with what's taking place inside the school, because they're being so careful and diligent about just letting the kids out one by one. But you don't have a sense of panic, at least, from what's taking place at Benjamin Tasker.

HARRIS: As we said earlier, the investigation into what happened here outside this school in Prince George's County is being watched very closely by police officers and the police department in Montgomery County, which is where all the shootings happened last week. At least five of the shootings that happened last week did occur in Montgomery County.

Joining us once again on the phone is Lucille Baur, who's with the Montgomery Police. We lost the connection that we had with Lucille a little while ago, and we were just getting some information from Lucille Baur about how the two departments are going to be coordinating their efforts and trying to find out exactly what happened there. Are you there with us now -- Lucille Baur?


HARRIS: Sorry about the problem that we had last time around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, certainly understandable.

HARRIS: Let's begin again.


HARRIS: What exactly is going on in the coordination of the efforts between Montgomery County Police and Prince George's County?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the crime occurred in Prince George's County, they will be the lead investigatory law enforcement agency.

HARRIS: I'm sorry -- Lucille, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but we're going to go right now to the press conference.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... from Bowie, Maryland, with a single gunshot wound to the chest. He is currently in surgery, and he's listed in critical but stable condition. We hope to have additional information for you later on this afternoon regarding his condition, but not before 2:00 p.m.

QUESTION: We've been told serious -- you are now saying critical condition?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Critical but stable.

QUESTION: Is he still in surgery?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's still in surgery.

QUESTION: Have they retrieved the bullet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have any information. We'll have more updates for you this afternoon.

QUESTION: Are there members of Prince George's County police forensics trying to get bullet fragments?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not aware of that.

QUESTION: Do you know if members of his family are present?


QUESTION: Can you describe the extent of the injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I can't. We will have updates for you later on this afternoon. We want to just give you accurate information as to where we stand. But details we'll have later for you this afternoon.

QUESTION: Can you tell us which family members?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot. We'll have updates for you later this afternoon.

QUESTION: Can you tell us when he might be out of surgery?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure of exact time, but we hope to have something later for you this afternoon, after 2:00.

QUESTION: He was immediately brought into surgery when he got here, right around 9:00?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not sure of that.

QUESTION: Do you know who the doctors are?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll have information -- I'm sorry your question again?

QUESTION: Who were the doctors?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Marty Eichelberger (ph) is the surgeon.

QUESTION: Can you spell the last name?


QUESTION: And what is his title?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Eichelberger is one of our attending surgeons here at Children's National.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what the size of the team is? Is there a backup team? What kind of procedures are being performed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, we will have all of that information for you. Again, my goal here was just to give you some clear information in terms of where we stand. And I commit to you that we'll have details for you later this afternoon.

QUESTION: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, thank you. Bye-bye.

HARRIS: And as you can tell, we just jumped into that press conference that was rather hastily arranged.

KAGAN: But informative nonetheless.

HARRIS: At Children's National Hospital.

KAGAN: Children's National Hospital -- this is the where the young teenager, 13 years old, is in surgery as we speak. He's listed in critical but stable condition as that surgery is taking place. And that was really just a nugget of information that that official was going to give us, but does promise 2:00 p.m. Eastern -- about 2 1/2 hours from now -- a full news conference. Sounds like it will be with doctors -- telling us more about the boy's condition.


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