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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Police Official Briefs Press on Sniper Search

Aired October 9, 2002 - 12:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting some more information now on this shooting spree in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Diane Richardson of the Prince George's County Police is briefing reporters right now.
Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DIANE RICHARDSON, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY POLICE: The witness further indicated this subject was carrying a long black bag.

The witness ran to a nearby house and called 911. When officers arrived on the scene, they quickly established a perimeter. They shortly thereafter saw a woman driving this dark blue vehicle, which is behind me. It is a Ford car. They stopped her, and we are questioning her to find out why she was in this area. We don't know whether or not she was the person who dropped the subject off, but we are talking with her, trying to find out why she was here.

QUESTION: So you are you not sure whether or not what?

RICHARDSON: We're not sure whether or not this woman was the same subject who dropped the man off, the man who was seen walking into the wooded area.

We have canvassed this area. We are asking people whether or not anybody else saw this person walking into the wooded area. Right now, we just know that one person, and one person only, saw somebody go into the wooded area.

We have notified all of the schools. They are on lockdown anyway. They are now permitting the children to go outside for recess or other activities. Schools are keeping the students inside. And we're asking parents to not show up at the schools. They are safer inside. So just keep them in there.

Also, when we were conducting a canvas in the area, we located a witness who told us that yesterday they saw a white male in this area carrying a long black bag. But he actually was part of a surveying company, and inside his black bag were tripods, camera sticks. So we're not sure if we're dealing with that type of an incident today. We are certainly taking all the precautions that are necessary. We're sending a group of officers to search this wooded area. It's several hundred acres. We hope to do this as quickly but cautiously as possible.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

RICHARDSON: The only information the witness gave us this morning is that it was a dark blue vehicle, possibly a Ford. This vehicle behind me is obviously a dark blue car, and it is a Ford.

QUESTION: Is that the car the woman was driving?

RICHARDSON: Yes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) did you find this car when you got the initial report?

RICHARDSON: I was just told within a short time. I'm not sure if that was several minutes or anything more than that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

RICHARDSON: The woman is not under arrest. We're simply talking to her, finding out why she was in this area. She may live here -- I'm still trying to find that out -- or she may work in this area. So please give us some time to work on that. I can't give you any more information.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) she's not being forthcoming?

RICHARDSON: The woman is cooperating. Let us just get some information from her, and I'll be more than happy to update you with whatever she tells us.

QUESTION: Are police trying to get a search warrant so they can take a closer look in the car, because I did see officers ask her to look in her glove compartment at one point? Do they want a search warrant to see what's in that car?

RICHARDSON: I'm not too sure at this point. I will try to find out for you.

Anybody have any other questions?

QUESTION: You couldn't explain why she was down there? Is that...

RICHARDSON: I'm not going to tell you what she's telling us right now, but I am just telling you that we are talking with her, trying to find out why she was here.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) she was taken out of that car. You're saying now that she was cooperative. Has she calmed down, or is it just because...

RICHARDSON: I personally have not seen her, so I can't comment one way or the other how she was acting this morning and how she's acting now. We are trying to get some information from her, and I'm being told she is giving us some information. But I cannot elaborate on that any more. QUESTION: How long do you think this search on foot will take here with your police officers? How many do you have searching? How long will it take?

RICHARDSON: We have a number of officers. I don't have the exact number. But they anticipated a few hours. If it continues, if they think it's going to last a little bit longer, I will let you know.

Again, I do need to stress that parents are asked not to respond to the schools. We have officers who are standing by at the schools. We've notified the schools that this is what's going on. It's just for them to take precautions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

RICHARDSON: Yes. Actually, let me back that up. We are going to talk with the superintendent of the schools to see if they want to make a decision. If the search is continuing near dismissal time, we will let you know what our plans are and what the schools will be doing.

QUESTION: Why did it take so long before we saw the helicopter, before we saw all the police officers come to the scene here? There was quite a big gap in time (OFF-MIKE).

RICHARDSON: They were searching another part of the wooded area. We also used our helicopter from our aviation unit to conduct an initial search earlier. This helicopter is just being brought in as support to us. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we see our helicopter back up in the air as well.

QUESTION: Whose helicopter is this?

RICHARDSON: This belongs to the FBI.

That's all the questions right now. Thank you.

BLITZER: Diane Richardson of the Prince George's County Police Department briefing reporters on a suspicious search that's now underway in the woods around Washington, D.C., specifically in one area in Prince George's County.

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