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Man Shot At Exxon Station Near Fredericksburg

Aired October 11, 2002 - 11:40   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're standing by, waiting to hear a news conference that is, as we understand, very close to beginning at the Exxon gas station. Our own Michael Okwu is standing by at that gas station. And Michael, maybe you can give us the latest on when that news conference might be beginning.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, you can imagine, we're all sort of standing in the rain here waiting eagerly to hear the latest from Major Howard Smith, who is with the Spotsylvania state police department here. He's expected to brief us as to what exactly happened here at the Exxon station. We understand that an eye witness across the street from this station happened to see or actually happened to hear, just from across the street, one single shot, which, of course, would be consistent with what's been going on now for the better part of a week.

State police, as you mentioned earlier, Daryn, looking for this white Chevy Astrovan with possibly some sort of ladder rack on top of it. And also, as the pictures we're showing you earlier, police officers, state police officers, stopping any vehicle that might match that description and interviewing the drivers to find out whether they might have any connection to this particular shooting and, certainly, what's been going on in the past week or so.

This area, Daryn, is still roped off sufficiently. There are a number of law enforcement officials here, federal law enforcement officials, as well as state and local police personnel. Lots and lots of vehicles. A sea of vehicles here. We understand that just behind this area, at what is called the Food Lion, that there may have been another shooting, that somebody -- but we understand that somebody came out of the woods there and maybe that is not entirely accurate. But in the meantime, we're waiting for Major Howard Smith, and that's all we can tell you at this time.

KAGAN: Michael, I have to ask you a follow-up question, this possible shooting, whether it's related or not, at this Food Lion, this is the first time we're hearing about that. What more can you tell us?

OKWU: We don't really know much about that. We understand there was some sort of a report of a shooting at the Food Lion, which is about a quarter of a mile from this location, but you can clearly see it. We don't know whether there is actually a shooting there. There was a report. We understand that somebody came out of the woods earlier this morning at some point after this particular shooting, but we just don't know. KAGAN: All right. Well, hopefully we'll get more information about that when this news conference does begin. Michael Okwu, once again, is at the Exxon station where this latest shooting has taken place about 2 hours and 15 minutes ago, standing by, waiting for police to give us the latest on that.

Michael, before we let you go, I think Bill has a question for you.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn, just curious. I know, Michael, we talked two and a half hours ago. At the time, you were in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is essentially the headquarters for the investigation conducted in Prince William County, related to the Manassas shooting. In Manassas on Monday night, there were a series of woods located behind that Sunoco station, and the investigation seemed to be focused on that area. You described woods in your location right there. Do you know how heavily wooded the area is?

OKWU: It's very heavily wooded. It is very, very similar to some of the other locations where we have seen this sniper strike. It's a very commercial area. It is a main thoroughfare, clearly a corridor, with a lot of motels, hotels, restaurants. The sort of thing that you see throughout -- across the country. And just enveloping this entire area is -- are woods, basically, woods and small little developments, housing developments. So if the pattern fits. If, in fact, you know, this is our sniper -- and it looks like it is -- then clearly this is somebody who might have stationed himself somewhere in these woods and fired from a long distance away.

Clearly, according to various law enforcement personnel associated with the investigation, this person can fire from as far away as 600, 650 yards away, and from where I am standing, you can see just beyond the Exxon station, there are woods even closer than that. I would say as close as 200 meters away, maybe even closer than that. And if you look back at the Food Lion, which is just behind the Exxon station, that is set just at the foot of a line of trees. So this person was in a position to do damage from a number of locations, I would say almost 300 degrees around the location of the shooting.


HEMMER: And is that entire area, has that been marked off, Michael?

OKWU: Well, the woods certainly have not been marked off. That would certainly take a long time and it's almost impossible. You have to -- to see this, you would know that it's almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. But the specific area where the shooting occurred has in fact been marked off. As a matter of fact, we were standing about 80 meters away from the actual site when law enforcement officials here told the media to move away. So we're now in a position where we actually can't see the Exxon station, but they've gone so far as to mark off, I would say, another 250 to 300 yards beyond that station.


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