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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Family of Sniper Victim Speaks

Aired October 15, 2002 - 14:06   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Much of the police activity today of course, has been at the site of the latest shooting in Falls Church, Virginia, and that's where we find our Michael Okwu on the scene there.
Michael, hello.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, Daryn.

A lot of police activity, and also a place where there are lots of sentimental feelings being expressed.

In the last 13 days, basically, the area surrounding Washington, D.C. has seen nine new memorials put in place. We want to show you pictures of the very latest one. This one put down just about 20 minutes ago. This is the area where Linda Franklin was shot last night, as she was packing her car with goods that she had just bought here at the Home Depot -- her husband, not far from her side.

Again, it happened at 9:15 last night. Authorities have been here now for the better part of some 15 hours, amassing physical evidence along the road here, and also in the parking lot on the streets and on some vehicles in the parking lot.

Based on information given to them by eyewitnesses, authorities here in Fairfax County will also try to home in on a light-colored Chevy Astro. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS MANAGER, CHIEF, FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE: We received license plate information from several witnesses, different information on different tags. We're following up on all of that information. We are not ready to release any tag information about a suspect vehicle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OKWU: Two vehicles were towed from this area a couple hours ago, unclear who those vehicles belonged to, but clearly investigators looking at some of the vehicles here, trying to get as much evidence as possible.

Investigators are still amassing lots of information, based on a variety of different sources. A lot of eyewitnesses apparently this time around. And we are told one of the things they are really going to be taking a very serious look at are some of the accounts of that the eyewitnesses give of the license plate numbers. This is an area I've been talking to people all day, our viewers about all day, in which they call the Seven Corners area. And they call it Seven Corners because it's an area where so many roads converge into one, basic central point here, and it is -- definitely fit the sniper's M.O., trying to set his sights on a spot that is heavily trafficked, that is highly commercial, doing damage with one single bullet and then moving on. At this point, 11 people have been shot, in total, the death toll stands at 9 -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Michael, one other strange twist about this Seven Corner Shopping Center, it does feature, like a lot of these guys, a Michael's craft store.

OKWU: That's exactly right. There's a Michael's craft store not far from here. And so, it's, of course, raised speculation. Is there some connection between this particular commercial place and the shooter or not? It could very well be the fact that the shooter is targeting highly trafficked commercial places and Michael's craft store happens to be a place that's popular in this area. And so, it makes sense you would have a Michael's craft store in these places. It's something, though, can bet, Daryn, that investigators are taking a very serious look at.

KAGAN: Absolutely. Michael Okwu in Falls Church, Virginia. Michael, thank you very long -- thank you very much.

Well, all day long, criminologist Casey Jordan has been following the new developments in this sniper hunt, and she's joining us right now with her take on yesterday's shooting and the flood of fresh information that we've been able to bring to you today.

Casey, hello.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Hi, again.

KAGAN: First of all, do you make anything of these Michael's craft stores showing up at so many of the shooting sites?

JORDAN: I have to tell you that I've gotten some very interesting e-mails by biblical scholars who say there is something to the Michael's theme, based on Michael the archangel, and the concept of an avenging angel, a patron saint of the falsely accused. It might be a stretch, but it would be wrong, if the law enforcement completely ignored the Michael theme.

You know, it's been suggested to me that the perpetrator's name might be Michael. All of this is pure speculation. But, again, in a case like this, where there is far more unknown than known, you have to look at every angle.

KAGAN: Absolutely, even for some of the theories that seem kind of a little out there, you got to -- you have to consider everything. One thing that was so shattering and so devastating about this latest loss and this latest hit is that the sniper had taken 84 hours off from the last shooting, until last night's shooting. What does that time span tell you, also that he did not hit in the previous weekend? JORDAN: Well, we waited all weekend for developments, to see if it would be an event-free weekend and, indeed, it was. Then, of course, there was a little speculation because Monday being a holiday, would the shooter consider that part of the weekend or not? And I have a feeling that most of us watching this case, covering it, got a little comfortable, and almost relaxed yesterday evening, as it got past 9:00 and there had been no events.

And perhaps that is a mere coincidence, perhaps he was just waiting for the right opportunity, a convenient target, lack of capable guardians. But then again, maybe he was also very cognizant of the fact that things had relaxed, people may be just a tad off guard and the possibility of escape was heightened because there had been a three-day hiatus.

KAGAN: Well, and you talk about escape. I just want to put up these pictures again that we got out of this news conference in the last hour, because it is probably the biggest piece of information we've had of the afternoon, and that's these composites of these white vans that the police have release this afternoon.

Anything -- I mean, perhaps a delivery person or what can you read into somebody that would have access to vans like this with these ladder racks on the top?

JORDAN: The commonality of these vans is what strikes me the most. It's an extremely common utility vehicle. And whether it's white or cream, it's an extremely common color that these vehicles come in. It's a very common vehicle for deliveries, for contractors to use, for people in the repair business, for people to rent, simply to deliver their own furniture.

There is nothing that we can really make of this vehicle, except that it blends. You see them so much. Certainly, at a Home Depot, there might be 12 of them in a parking lot at any given moment.

KAGAN: True.

JORDAN: So it would possibly be something that the shooter is--

KAGAN: Casey, let me just...

JORDAN: Sure.

KAGAN: ... let me just jump in here for a second, because I think the news conference is about to begin any minute...

JORDAN: OK.

KAGAN: ... in Arlington, Virginia. This is the neighborhood where Linda Franklin lived with her husband. This is Linda Franklin being the latest victim of the sniper attacks. Looks like they're getting close, perhaps. Forty-seven years old -- so far, we've learned that Linda Franklin worked for the FBI.

They're coming -- well, does not look like it's beginning quite yet. Yes, yes. We'll come back to this in Arlington, because it doesn't look like -- maybe they're giving alert to the media about with when it might begin.

Casey, let's go back and look at the shooting that took the life of Linda Franklin, of this latest victim, in a parking lot at night. I haven't heard any word of any kind of wooded area around there, and in a covered parking lot. That's different than anything we've seen, so far.

JORDAN: It is. And it raises the question as to whether the shooter is taking additional risks, perhaps out of amazing bravado and --

KAGAN: I'm sorry. I need to interrupt. It looks like it started...

JORDAN: Here they come back. OK.

KAGAN: It does look like it. Yes, let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BILL MURRAY, COLLEAGUE, FAMILY SPOKESMAN: And then we'll get on with it. The Franklin family is devastated by this tragic event. Linda's family is shocked by the senseless loss of life and is calling on anyone with any information about this tragedy to contact law enforcement -- the FBI, Fairfax County, whomever.

Linda was a loving wife and mother who watched out for everyone in her family and her loss will affect everyone in the Franklin family, the FBI, the National Infrastructure Protection Center and the community, as a whole.

Funeral arrangements are still being finalized and I will provide that information, when it becomes more hard. I'll take a couple questions and that's about it.

REPORTER: Do you know how long she worked?

MURRAY: From what I understand, she joined the Bureau in December of 1998.

REPORTER: (OFF-MIKE)

MURRAY: December of 1998.

REPORTER: Where did she work before that?

MURRAY: I don't know.

REPORTER: Did she have any children?

MURRAY: I understand that the family was moving.

REPORTER: To where?

MURRAY: I have no idea.

REPORTER: (OFF-MIKE)

MURRAY: They were moving.

REPORTER: What does that mean?

MURRAY: Linda's job was an intelligence operations specialist with the National Infrastructure Protection Center. And basically, she was an intelligence analyst to -- who worked through a lot of information that was coming into the center. That's basically all I have.

KAGAN: Very brief, but we do learn a few things about the latest victim of the sniper attacks. Linda Franklin, we already knew that she was 47 years old and lived in Arlington, Virginia. And much like our Bob Franken reported in the last hour, that she and her husband were planning on moving from that Arlington neighborhood and you can speculate, it's not that far of an assumption to think that, perhaps, that's why they were at Home Depot last night, picking up some things for the move.

We also learned that she's been at the FBI for almost four years and she worked and, as had been reported before, that she worked as an intelligence analyst.

Do we still have Casey Jordan with us? Casey, are you still there with us?

JORDAN: I am, indeed.

KAGAN: All right. Just a quick question. I think when a lot of people hear "FBI," the first thing we thought, perhaps, FBI agent. Clear, that's not what she was. But there's nothing to indicate that the person who was doing this across the Washington, D.C. area, knows anything about the victims that he or she is picking out.

JORDAN: There is nothing to indicate that. And I think that it was to be expected that, when we first found out she was affiliated with the FBI, it had to occur to us that, perhaps, she was a very specific target. But as information has come in since then, I would agree with everyone else that this is purely a horrible irony, that she happens to work for the FBI. I don't believe, for one second, the shooter knew that or targeted her, on purpose.

KAGAN: And when you just look at the area that we're talking about, the Washington, D.C., area, surely, as these go on, it's not surprising that, eventually, one of the victims would turn out to be some type of federal employee and, in this case...

JORDAN: Not surprising at all.

KAGAN: In this case, an employee of the FBI.

Casey, thanks again for insight. Appreciate you joining us from New York. JORDAN: No problem.

KAGAN: And we want to remind our viewers to join Connie Chung. She will be along tonight for a special report, "Sniper on the Loose: Search for the Killer." Connie will be devoting her entire hour to the ongoing effort to find the person or people behind the killing D.C.-area killing spree. Connie Chung, tonight at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific.

Carol, back to you.

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