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Chief Moose Conducts Press Conference on Sniper Shootings

Aired October 10, 2002 - 12:01   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Here's the police chief of Montgomery County, Charlie Moose.
CHIEF CHARLIE MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: We appreciate the fact people have been calling the 1-888-324-9800 tip line, the consolidated tip line. Currently there are 40 lines into that number. We are in the process of increasing the number of lines into that number, because there's -- it is busy. So 40 lines in currently, and it is in the process of being enhanced.

I talked to chief Charlie Dean, Prince William County. I certainly appreciate the fact that he, at this point, is waiting, certainly, confirmation -- waiting on what the science tells us, but he is very well connected with members of the team. As that unfolds, certainly, if it is connected, he is again committed to be part of the group. And I also understand, and I talked to him about the fact that he will be responsive to his community. He's been the police chief for that community for a long time, and certainly he will be contacting and talking to them, answering their questions and concerns.

But every asset, anything he needs from this team, has been made available. And at this point, it is too early to tell if the shootings are linked. If they are linked, he has indicated he will certainly be part of the task force. If they are not linked, again, it is a very progressive police department, and they will address the homicide in their jurisdiction. Are their any questions?

QUESTION: You talk about the number of tips continue to go up. Are you talking about credible tips. Are you starting to see blocks of tips that are starting to take you down a certain way, just anything about these tips or people that is calling, that may have credible information, but it's like you already heard that before. Anything new within the tips that are giving you some optimism?

MOOSE: Sir, it would be inappropriate to talk about the tips. One of the things we continue to stress is we get the best information from people if we are able to tell them that their information is confidential.

QUESTION: Given you have no motives in this case, is there a task force looking into a possible terrorist connection in any of these cases?

MOOSE: Sir, we continue to keep an open mind with regards to motive. People are working. Nothing has been ruled out, and we want to be open minded in the continuation of this investigation. QUESTION: Where is the Manassas bullet right now? Has it been recovered? And when it is recovered, will it be taken up to Rockville where it will be analyzed?

MOOSE: I really have no information on the exact information on that or any evidence at this minute.

QUESTION: The shooting in Manassas, when you look at the big picture, what are the similarities here that stand out?

MOOSE: It is, again, too early to talk about whether we have any conclusive or inconclusive information as to whether or not the shootings are linked, and to discuss any details or to speculate would be inappropriate.

QUESTION: What about a timeframe? Are you waiting on an autopsy or flying evidence back? Can you talk about a timeframe at all?

MOOSE: I don't have the capacity to talk about a timeframe. The people that are doing that work are working an hard as they can. They understand the desire of people to know. But they also are trying to be correct and are doing it very methodically.

QUESTION: Chief, when the bullet is recovered in the course of the autopsy and it's given to ATF to be brought here to Rockville, can you describe to us, what is their ability to either link it as they have in other cases, or not link it, as they have with fragments? Can we get kind of what we expect to happen with that piece of evidence today?

MOOSE: Sir, I can't answer that question, and we don't have anyone here that has that capacity.

QUESTION: Would it be possible you'll be able to address that an a matter of procedure, what they would do with it?

MOOSE: There's no one here that has that information.

QUESTION: ... to physically move the task force to another building, perhaps where some more space -- are you able to talk about that at all at this point?

MOOSE: There is a group that's working on facility issues, phone issues. I don't have any details to share at this point.

QUESTION: You told us the other day that various databases were being looked at to see if you could find any connection between the sniper attacks and any other attacks that may have happened here or elsewhere. Have you found any matches?

MOOSE: It would not be appropriate for me to talk about that kind of information with regards to the investigation at that time.

QUESTION: Is there an effort to try to narrow down one main description to put out for folks? MOOSE: We put out the descriptions we've put out. We don't feel like it's appropriate to put out anything that we don't get from witnesses. I think you're asking me to somehow combine all of the descriptions. So that is not something that we're doing.

QUESTION: Chief, a number of these shootings have either been at or in very close proximity to these Michael's stores. I spoke to store officials today who said they're in touch with police about that very issue. Does anybody see a connection? Are they looking at the possibility of a connection, looking at prior employees? Is that being examined?

MOOSE: Sir, it would be inappropriate for me to talk about the investigation.

QUESTION: Chief moose, you can't talk obviously about the specifics of the investigation. Can any of these law enforcement officials who are standing with talk about the particulars of this case, be it the FBI or the ATF? Tell us about -- educate the public about the challenge of this case compared to other cases you've had to deal with?

MOOSE: I'm not seeing anyone step forward. No one can do that, sir, sorry.

QUESTION: Chief, do you feel like your attempts to communicate with the serial killer from this...

MOOSE: Sir, we hold these briefings to try to update people about the evolving incidents, and an best possible, to answer questions from the media.

QUESTION: As the circle gets lighter, as this crime scene gets lighter, are you still adding to your staff and adding resources constantly to make the net lighter? It just seems to be overwhelming.

MOOSE: Certainly, we are pleased at our ability to continue to add resources, bring in things that we think will make a difference, and certainly, in cooperating with the other jurisdictions, they're also working the issues, so it is getting larger, but at this point, it is manageable.

QUESTION: Chief, I don't know if you'll know what the answer to this is, but let me ask it anyway. Have you had any further communication from the killer?

MOOSE: Sir, I -- and I guess it's a matter of what one would call communication. I have nothing to say about the investigation.

QUESTION: Chief, a number of police officers have said to me...

MOOSE: Can you wait?


QUESTION: With the potential number of jurisdictions expanding, is there a point in which this might naturally become a federal investigation primarily?

MOOSE: Well, certainly, the speculation of it becoming a federal investigation, all things are possible. And I just want to make it real clear, as we hopefully have been clear all along, it really doesn't matter to myself or Mr. Duncan who runs the investigation. We would like to find the person or the people responsible for this, arrest them, indict them and get a conviction.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, answering questions -- trying to answer questions, so many questions, so few answers, though. He's reluctant, obviously, to discuss details of the investigation, that nothing he says can undermine the course of this investigation.


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