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Sniper Attack Police Briefing

Aired October 8, 2002 - 06:18   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And as promised, we want to head live to Prince George's County, Maryland. This is an update on the sniper attacks in the Washington area. Of course Prince George's County is where the 13-year-old boy was shot.
Let's listen in to the police chief.

CHIEF GERALD WILSON, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY POLICE: We were assisted there by the Maryland Park Police, Chief Brownley (ph), and his folks.

This morning we are going to be assisted by Prince George's County Municipal Chiefs Association. We were in touch with Chief Holland (ph) yesterday, and so all of our schools between the Prince George's County Police Department and members of our Municipal Chiefs Association, all of our schools will be covered.

A note to the citizens also, it appears that weather will permit us to put up both of our helicopters this morning. They will patrol -- they will split the county so that if anything unusual occurs, they can respond. But even before that, they can be proactive in helping us to ensure that our children get to school safely.

We are in close partnership and communication with our board of education's security force. It happens that that force is led by Mr. Russ Tadesco (ph) who is a retired Prince George's County police officer, so there is a seamless communication in that regard.

In reference to the evidence from yesterday, we did recover some evidence that I'm not at liberty to get into. I can tell you that some was turned over to ATF and even some other we will share with our coalition partners this morning over in Montgomery County as we analyze it and determine what our next steps together will be.

Also, I understand that we have received a number of calls from residents inquiring about our country executive. Mr. Curry (ph) is out of the country on a trip to South Africa. He has been consulted. He is aware of what's going on and he has, through the chief administrative officer, giving his police department full resources and support and any assistance we need from the county government to support the regional effort to bring this dangerous individual to justice.

A word to what I would call our indigenous or our home grown criminal element here in Prince George's County, you would be wise not to try to take advantage of what may appear to be a distraction on the part of your Prince George's County Police Department to commit crimes here at this time.

Last night, and I was notified while I was in Montgomery County, that we had had a shooting. Two heroic patrol officers out of our district one station made an immediate apprehension following that shooting that resulted in a homicide that was totally unrelated to this situation.

We also had a shooting this morning in our district three area off of Ritchie Road. No arrest was made in that case just yet; however, based on the suspect information, it is -- does not appear related to these other incidents.

And finally, I've done a lot of reflection overnight on what's occurred. And you know, and this is to the citizens of Prince George's County. On September 11, 2001, a man by the name of Todd Beamer on Flight 93 was heard to say "Let's Roll."

And right now I think that we also hear a profound message coming from a 13-year-old, even though he has a tube in his throat and he's fighting for his life. And what he's saying to us is "fight," don't give up no matter what the pain is that we're experiencing, and ours right now is psychological, spiritual. But right now all of us are going to have to fight, we're going to have to have a fighting spirit, we're going to have to come together and we cannot allow one individual to shut that spirit down in us.

And so we're going to work together with our community, we're going to continue to put information out through the news media as it comes available and we are going to bring a killer to justice.

Now with that, I'm going to answer any questions that you may have at this point to the best of my ability.

QUESTION: Chief, what was the situation, the search last night of a gentleman's apartment for computer and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WILSON: The Prince George's County Police Department, and I know you're not from this area, but our citizens know that when we're attacked, we mobilize and respond. At this point, we do not have a suspect in custody for what's occurred. You do have good information. We have gotten busy, and we did execute a search warrant last night. At this point, that -- the information on what we recovered has not led us to the perpetrator of the shooting yesterday.

But if anyone has any question about whether we're responding to the tips and whatnot that are coming over our tip line, the information that you just brought forward I think answers that concern.

QUESTION: Chief Wilson, beyond the fact that this individual had a large number of weapons in his -- in his ownership, were there other reasons that you thought he or in looking at before you went in (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WILSON: Well let me say this, and I think it, you know, should be said, is that we are working with our office of the state's attorney. Everything that we're doing is reviewed. Major Joy (ph) is here. He is the acting chief of our Bureau of Support Services. We actually had a member of the office of the state's attorney with us yesterday so that we are legally proper in what we're doing. We had a search warrant. But if we get leads, we will respond to that information.

Yes -- sir.

QUESTION: Can you tell us whether that was an ongoing investigation or whether that was something that resulted from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of leads that came in yesterday after the shooting?

WILSON: That was put together between 8:00 yesterday morning and when we executed it based on calls that we received.

QUESTION: A follow up then, is it possible that other individuals in the community who do in fact have large numbers of weapons that their neighbors are aware of might want to make themselves openly available to the police department?

WILSON: Well you're -- we had probable cause that a crime was occurring or could be in progress yesterday and so that's why we're -- at this point don't -- I don't want to start anything where now I'm, you know, trying to round up people who are just gun owners. If we have information that someone may be committing a crime, we're going to respond to it.

OK, thank you very much. And what we'll do is we will -- we're going to be going over to Montgomery County today, but we will also get back together with you. And I will for a bit be busy because I'm going to be overseeing our response this morning.

COSTELLO: And you've been listening to Police Chief Gerald Wilson of Prince George's County, Maryland with an update on the sniper attacks there.

And again, the 13-year-old boy who was shot outside of a Bowie middle school yesterday remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition. Looks like he's going to be OK. And the police chief says everyone in Prince George's County and in the Washington area must fight, fight the fear and look for clues to find this sniper.

There will be a live press conference also from the Montgomery County police chief. That will happen at 6:30.


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