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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Montgomery County News Conference on Sniper

Aired October 14, 2002 - 12:05   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now I want to go back to Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside Washington, the police chief Charles Moose.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONT. CO. POLICE: ... and a lot of mail. And in working with my staff, we're on the verge of falling behind on regular police department mail. And so in order to avoid that mixup, we want to tell people about a post office box that we have available: post office box 7875, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20898-7857.

I would request that people that want to communicate with me provide information to the team about this case, write us. We realize that not everyone has e-mail, other electronic ways to communicate, and some people are just comfortable writing, to use the P.O. box 7875, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20878.

Again, we are continuing with routine police business. We have a lot of mail, a lot of things that we need to do, and we'd like to just create that separation so that we can keep everything on a timely basis.

There are certainly also a lot of calls in the area with regards to shootings, shots fired, people that may have heard something. They are all been responded to by the police, and I want to stress that none of them have been found to be related to the shootings.

But we also admit that everyone is edgy, people are hearing things, things are occurring; things that may normally be overlooked or routine are certainly getting a higher response from people in their anxiety. But we've responded to all of those, and none of those are related to this situation that we're dealing with.

Our next briefing will be at 12 noon tomorrow, that's 12 noon. Any questions?

QUESTION: Are you hoping the sniper will write you?

MOOSE: Sir, I explained why we put the post office box out there, and I thought that was pretty clear.

QUESTION: What about the two different vehicles, the Astro vehicle van lookout is still out, correct, and the White Isuzu is still out. What should people make of these two vehicles, one or two drivers? MOOSE: We want to stress that the vehicles that we've talked about, the boxed truck that we gave to composite out is one vehicle that we remain interested in, and the Chevy Astrovan is a second vehicle.

I appreciate your help in helping everyone understand that there are two separate vehicles that have been seen by various witnesses at different scenes.

So they are separate. We're very hopeful that continue working with the witnesses on the Chevy Astrovan to create a composite, but we do not have that at this time. But there are two separate vehicles.

QUESTION: Was the white box truck seen at more than one of the shooting scenes?

MOOSE: We tried to state when we put out that composite that the composite came from several witnesses at different scenes.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Can you tell me how many scenes the white box truck was seen at?

MOOSE: That would be inappropriate, sir, to share that information.

QUESTION: How are the men and women of the task force holding up, and how are you holding up?

MOOSE: The men and women of the task force and local law enforcement, and let me stress that sometimes in my -- I guess confusion or desire to get out from in front of these microphones, I forget to mention sometimes the wonderful job done by men and women in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in Prince William County, Virginia; the men and women of MPD. They all have victims, they all have crime scenes in their community. They're doing extremely well when I talk to their chiefs, to the sheriff, they're all very committed to doing what ever is necessary, one, to keep their communities safe, and to find the person or people involved in this, and bring them to custody.

We share some similar anxieties that everyone involved in this share, but the people are fine. They're getting their rest. They're getting their time off, but everyone continues to ask, at least whenever I see them, they want to know what else they can do, so I take that to be that they're doing very well.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: There were reports over the weekend that the surveillance tape had yielded some person that you were interested in, in talking to, there was an individual on some of the tape that you would like to speak to. Can you tell us whether those reports were accurate or inaccurate?

MOOSE: Well, sir, I just can tell that you none of the things that you just described came from us. So I -- again, it would be inappropriate to talk about that.

QUESTION: Did the release of the composite generate a lot more phone calls, since you released composite graphic of the truck?

MOOSE: The release of the composite on the truck has continued to yield good results. People have looked at it, people have downloaded it. And so we're very appreciative of that, and would expect that we will continue to get feedback that will be useful to this investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: A customer at Michael's craft shop, where the first shooting took place but no one was killed, bought a magazine, found something in that magazine, thought it might be bullet fragments. Can you tell us about that, whether testing has been done of those, if it turned to be anything related to the investigation?

MOOSE: Evidence has been recovered from the first shooting at the Michael's store on that Wednesday evening, and we have no further comment with regards to that.

QUESTION: Every day that someone is shot is a bad day in this or any other investigation, any day when there is no shooting is good. Beyond that, what do you make of the pattern that, as now, seems evident by two weekends off, and now after a Thursday and a Friday shooting, a couple more days off, so far today, a day off, beyond the fact that shooting is bad, not shooting is good, what do you think of the pattern?

MOOSE: Sir, with regards to your question, I can continue to provide the same answer, any day without shooting, without violence is a good day and we have no further comment.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE), has there been any talk of the FBI taking over this investigation, and if not, why not?

MOOSE: Sir, talk -- I guess I don't understand the question. There has been a lot of talk.

QUESTION: Among law enforcement, not among us, but -- have you heard from the FBI about any chance of them taking over this multi -- what is a multi-jurisdictional investigation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There hasn't been any talk among the investigative team of the FBI taking this case over. There would be no reason to do that. There are no resources that we have that are at our disposal that we aren't bringing to bear in this particular case. The discussions that you are referring to are coming from outside of the task force. The group is working very effectively together, and I think we'll be successful.

QUESTION: It seemed to be a classic FBI investigation, multi- jurisdiction over many states. Would that...

MOOSE: Are there any other questions? QUESTION: Regarding the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) case in the District of Columbia, maroon Chevy Caprice was seen speeding away from that scene reportedly, and since been found burned out or otherwise disabled, has that car -- that vehicle been connected to that case and is it part of your investigation?

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

QUESTION: Chief -- how would the possibility that the killer could have a motorcycle inside the van or truck?

MOOSE: Sir, we didn't come out to engage in speculation.

QUESTION: ... FBI gone to the Pentagon and asked for discharge papers for those people have undergone sniper training?

MOOSE: Sir, as has been our practice, we won't talk about any investigative strategies. That is inappropriate.

QUESTION: Chief, how would you characterize the progress being made in this investigation?

MOOSE: Well, I think the progress is going really well. Certainly, some of you may deem me an optimist, maybe your confusion is in the fact that we're not giving you what maybe you would consider a lot of information, but I would encourage you to not read anything into that, that the people are making progress, everyone is very diligent, resources are being provided as requested by team members, and I feel extremely good about the progress.

But, again, it is always not appropriate to share the details that cause me to feel good about that but please believe me, we are indeed making progress.

BLITZER: The police chief of Montgomery County, Charles Moose, expressing some optimism, making good progress, he says, progress going well, he feels extremely well about the course of this investigation, though, seemingly, no outward signs that the police are any closer to catching the sniper or snipers involved in this nearly two-week long spree of serial killings.

Eight people dead, two people seriously injured in the course of these shootings. There wasn't much news that the police chief did relay at this briefing just now. He did announce, though, that they are making available a post office box for individuals to write information, tips, anything that they might have, if they are reluctant, for example, to phone that 1-888 number that has been made available. They can certainly write to the police chief directly at Post Office Box 7875, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20878. I'll repeat that. Post Office Box 7875, Gaithersburg, 20878. Once the police chief made the announcement of that post office box, it of course, immediately invited the first question from a reporter, are you looking for a way for the sniper or snipers to communicate with you? The police chief didn't want to walk down that path.

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