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Shooting at Prince George's County Motel

Aired October 9, 2002 - 08:27   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We've got to go to Jeanne Meserve, who is on duty at the Montgomery County Police Department headquarters -- Jeanne, what do you have?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, police officials in Prince George's County are confirming to CNN that there has been a shooting. This shooting at the Cadillac Motel, located on Crane Highway in Prince George's County. A helicopter evacuation is under way. We do not know at this point, I emphasize, whether this shooting has any relationship whatsoever to the others that we have been telling you about, the shootings that started a week ago that have killed six people and wounded two others seriously.

Once again, a shooting this morning in next door Prince George's County. That is where on Monday a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically injured as he entered school with his aunt -- Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Jeanne, while our desk is trying to get more information on that, just a question to you about the latest development this morning, which was the reporting on this tarot card that was found at the scene of the Benjamin Tasker Middle School shooting. What can you tell us about that and why the police chief obviously is so angered that this even became public?

MESERVE: Well, first, here are the facts as we know them, that a tarot card, the death card in the fortune telling deck, was retrieved from the area of the Benjamin Tasker Middle School where that shooting of a student occurred on Monday. It was inscribed with the words, "Dear policemen, I am god."

What sources have told CNN is that investigators are looking at this. They do not know for certain that it was left by the shooter. There also is the possibility that it could have been left on the scene by a prankster some time after the shooting. So that's still being very much evaluated.

The chief is concerned because he has been holding information about this investigation extraordinarily tightly. He does not want to say anything or have anything reported that he feels could in any way compromise the search for the shooter, which is, of course, the bottom line of what needs to happen here. And so he was most distressed this information had been leaked to the media by someone. He made it clear this morning he will be talking to his investigators to make it clear there are not going to be any more leaks like this, as well as, you know, he scolded the media for having gone public with this information. He didn't say explicitly that this had compromised the case. He said there is a possibility that information like this could compromise the case and he said why take that risk -- Paula.

ZAHN: Come back to what you've just learned about this shooting, of course, that we cannot link at this hour to the sniper.

MESERVE: That's right. Prince George's County officials telling CNN that there has been another shooting at the Cadillac Motel. That is on Crane Highway in Prince George's County. A helicopter has been dispatched to evacuate the wounded person. Once again, we do not know if there is any connection between this shooting and the others. However, geography makes this suspicious. Prince George's County, where the shooting earlier this week took place.

ZAHN: And on the ground there in not only St. George's County and Montgomery County, describe to us the level of police protection in place. Now I know you had reported earlier this morning that kids are not in school today because of a prearranged teacher education day.

MESERVE: That's right. And the county executive tells us that one of the things that teachers and other staff will be going over is how to help kids deal with the violence in their community, give them age appropriate suggestions for dealing with the sort of stresses that kids will face. The kids are not in school in Montgomery County because of this scheduled day off and the police chief expressed some concern about that this morning. They had said earlier this week the safest place for kids to be was in school. They're in a concentrated area. There was police presence around the schools.

Now they are dispersed to their homes. In some instances, there will not be parents around. And also the kids could be watching television and could be hearing and seeing things that perhaps might not be beneficial to their health. And, of course, kids being kids, they'll want to go outside. So a little bit of concern here about what sort of risks the day could pose for children -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jeanne, we're going to let you go. We know you've got to get some more information on the story.

Meanwhile, Bill is working it from the other side of the studio.

Jeanne, we'll come back to you in a little bit -- Bill?

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a couple things as we continue to track that, Paula. We'll continue to get the fallout, again, from what we're hearing from the police chief, even within the past hour here. So stay tuned for more on that.


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