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Man Shot, Killed at Virginia Gas Station

Aired October 11, 2002 - 12:18   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Michael Okwu is on the scene of this latest shooting, that we must stress, we don't 100 percent have confirmation. Law enforcement authorities checking to see if it is the deadly work of this same serial sniper.
Michael, tell our viewers, first of all, where you are and what you're seeing.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I am just beyond the Exxon station where this shooting took place earlier this morning at about 9:30. We're in Spotsylvania, specially a place called Massaponax. Some time shortly, we expect to have some sort of police briefing, specifically from Major Howard Smith with the Spotsylvania State Police Department.

We've been waiting for him now for over about an hour. He might be trying to get briefed. There are a number of federal, as well as state and local law enforcement officials on the scene at this time. And perhaps they're all comparing notes about what had happened here.

Now, it is unclear at this point, based on what we know, whether or not, again, this killing here had anything to do with the sniper who has terrorized the Washington D.C. area for the better part of a week.

However, based on what we see here, and also from an eyewitness -- I should say a witness across from the Exxon, who didn't necessarily see anything, but heard something, it seems they may be related cases. It certainly seems to fit the pattern. This witness across the street saying he heard a single gun shot. Clearly, this is an area that is highly trafficked. It's a large, commercial thoroughfare, essentially, the intersection of I-95 here and Route 1. There are gas stations, as well as restaurants, and small hotels in the area, which suggest, again, the same sort of pattern here.

In addition to the fact, Wolf, that if you look across here, you will see -- I know you probably can tell from pictures that you're seeing from the gas station, this area is encased, if you will, or enveloped in a wooded area.

You can see a wood line or tree line all across this particular point, I think pretty much about 320 degrees.

So, again, if it is the sniper, this is somebody who has shown in the past to use areas like this one to be able to fire from as far as 600, maybe perhaps 650 yards away. We're still waiting here to find out what Major Howard Smith will have to tell us. But again, to remind our viewers, this is not an area that is unfamiliar with the sniper. We know that last Friday in Fredericksburg, which is just a short way from here, a woman was shot in the back as she was doing some activities near her car, also at a gas station. So it seems again to be the sniper's MO. But again, we wait to get the latest -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And, Michael, before I let you go, is it -- can you see from where you are if there's a massive search under way for evidence, for shells, for anything else that might be in the vicinity of that gas station? Are police, for example, walking around, looking on the ground for evidence?

OKWU: We can't see it now, because the law enforcement officials who were here moved all of the media away from the Exxon station. So we can't get a very clear site of it now. But earlier, we had a very clear sight, some 50 meters away from the spot, and there were all sorts of personnel looking on the ground, looking at vehicles, chatting amongst themselves, obviously, a massive manhunt.

And I should mention to you, Wolf, that on the way down here, on I-95, due north, we actually saw a number of vehicles stopped along the highway. The state police here were very aggressive in their manhunt, setting up a dragnet of sorts along the highway and stopping traffic for as long as two to three miles down the road, all of this in an effort to stop what appeared to be white box-like vehicles, the description you've been hearing for the better part of a week. These white box-like vehicles were stopped along the street. In this case, what we saw were at least two vans that had been stopped. It seems as if police were stopping people, questioning them, and perhaps searching in their vehicles.

I should also mention to you, Wolf, very sensitive in this area, obviously, there's a Food Lion just across the way here where there are reports there might have been another shooting. People being very edgy here. It turns out anyway at this point that it appears to be somebody who was in the woods who had walked out of the woods, perhaps not an unusual situation to have somebody walk out of the woods in this area, but you can imagine what happened here this morning has got people feeling very much on edge -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Michael Okwu, he's on the scene for us in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Just outside of Fredericksburg, about 50 miles southwest of Washington D.C., the scene of another shooting earlier today.


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