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Sniper on Loose: Search for Killer

Aired October 20, 2002 - 19:32   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we just heard, moments ago, a startling press conference, to say the least, from Montgomery County officials. We are going to play that for you with the latest news, and then, we are going to talk to Eric Haney for his take on it. Let's play that press conference, which happened just about 10 or 15 minutes ago.

CHIEF MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, POLICE: To the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa, last night. You gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.


COOPER: Pretty starting. Going to bring you Daryn Kagan because I know she's going to want to ask a bunch of questions, here, too. Daryn's standing by in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Eric, I just want to start off with you. Right before the break, you sad to me that terrorism is theater. If that is true, has the second act just begun?

SGT. MAJOR ERIC HANEY, FIREARMS ANALYST: Maybe it has. We don't know. All we know is what Chief Moose told us on this one, and that someone should contact the number that already had been provided. Who that could be, who knows at this point? Should it be the shooter, though, it could be the opening of the second act of the killings. This person or persons are intelligent enough -- they've demonstrated that just in the cleverness that they've shown in planning all this -- to realize they're not going to get away with it forever. I've never felt that these were people who would shoot it out with police for a whole lot of reasons. That they knew they would eventually be apprehended. And that's the second act.

And that has longevity. It lives for how many years? Victors (ph) worldwide have been taken into custody, paraded into the courts, being adjudicated. It just goes on and on and on, so we don't know. We don't know.

COOPER: And why is it you say that terrorism is theater?

HANEY: It must have the public to receive it, to spread the terror. You know, it's the same as a tree falling in the forest. If no one's there to hear it, you know, was there any sound? So the same thing, here. If no one knows about a terroristic act, it doesn't spread terror. When I'm in a remote part of the world, for some months at a time, whatever happens in the rest of the world doesn't affect me. It could be horrific, but I'm unaffected until I come back out, and I receive the news, and I'm part of greater society again.

COOPER: Daryn?

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Eric, just a couple questions, here. First of all, just your initial reaction. Anderson and I have shared ours, which was, basically, wow, when we heard Chief Moose come out and talk directly to whoever left that number. What was your reaction?

HANEY: Well, my second thought on that was it was very reminiscent of opening negotiations with hostage takers in Latin America. The first thing that you do is you play a little dance, usually through a public media, quite often by classified ads in newspapers, and you get a number. You have a neutral number that the hostage takers can call, or they'll get one to you that you can call, and you start the negotiations at that point.

KAGAN: But certainly, and I can only imagine what the talks were like behind closed doors before they decided to come out and look into the cameras and talk directly to whoever left that number. By doing that, you are offering up a certain amount of respect, are you not, by acknowledging them?

HANEY: By acknowledging whom? By acknowledging the police or by...

KAGAN: No, whoever left the number.

HANEY: I'm sure that that was subject of long thought, long debate. All the ifs and what-ifs and what could happen if we follow this, and in the final analysis, it was determined this is the best way to proceed.

KAGAN: And then finally, we've been using you quite a bit to talk about being at different shooting scenes and what the logistics are, actually, in trying to carry out a terrible crime, like this. If you think about that whoever did this last, and again, just to reiterate, we have not confirmed that it was the same work of the same sniper, but whoever did that took time and thought to do one more thing, and that is to leave a number behind.

HANEY: Well, that was planned prior to the action. I'm quite certain of that. That didn't take place once the shot was fired and as an afterthought. And it's indicative of the cleverness that's been demonstrated throughout all of these shootings.

COOPER: Daryn, I also want to bring in Casey Jordan, who I'm sure you'll also want to talk to. Casey's standing by, I believe, in New York.

Casey, does the fact -- I mean, if this is, in fact, a message from the shooter that was left last night, which we do not know at this point. It could be a witness. It could be a hoax of some sort. If it is a message from the shooter, does that, in a sense, mean that they want to play a game, that perhaps behind it all, they kind of want to caught? Does that make any sense?

CASEY JORDAN, CNN CRIMINOLOGIST: I think they want to be pursued more than they want to be caught, and I certainly don't disagree with Eric. These are one or two individuals. At this point, it really doesn't matter. But the key is that the personality at work here is somebody who does want the fame or infamy. And that might include capture and a trial and being in the news for a very long time. But the thrill that they're getting right now is the whole cat and mouse game. And we've seen that stepped up tremendously.

I'm very struck by how the tables have turned, in the space of, I'm guessing, 10 days from the Bowie shooting where Chief Moose was extraordinarily furious with the media and believed that the media may have botched part of their investigation by releasing the information on the tarot card. And here, we have, today, him pleading with the media to help by getting the word out to whoever left the message, they are ready to communicate. Perhaps, that is them acquiescing to the head game of whoever left the message that if you want to communicate with me, you must do it through the media because, of course, the media is what is providing the fame for this particular shooter.

COOPER: Eric, do you agree with that?

HANEY: Oh, without doubt, the media is the stage upon which this whole act is played out, as all terrorism is. It's the force multiplier. It gives it power well beyond the number of deaths and woundings that have taken place already.

COOPER: Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes, Casey, I just want to jump in on the point that you were making there, and perhaps, add to that. Perhaps there was an intermediate step between being so angry about the tarot card and, now, coming out and trying to make connection through that phone number. Do you remember about, I think it was three or four days ago -- it's all starting to blur -- but it was about three days ago where Chief Moose stood up at that podium and held up this P.O. Box that they had set up? Didn't say directly, at that time, it was for the sniper or anybody responsible, but it definitely was an invitation for people to communicate.

JORDAN: Absolutely, and I think that it was a direct response to a failed opportunity to communicate with the shooter at the Bowie, Maryland school. The key, of course, is that they're trying to keep that door and window open. Now, if the Chief is speaking absolutely truly, that somebody at the Ponderosa restaurant, or within that particular area, left a message initiating contact, then that's there response. I'm not sending you a letter. You will call the number, and here is the number, or I will call you at this number, and you will be at this number or you will get this number established, so that I can contact you. Again, communication on the shooter's terms. Again, assuming that this is the shooter's message.

COOPER: Daryn...

KAGAN: And yet -- go ahead.

COOPER: I'd be interested to hear (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is that the fact that they have announced this just about 24 hours, a little bit shy of 24 hours, since the shooting began, you would think, and again, I don't want to go too far out on a limb here, but you would think that they have, in a sense, tried to contact this number already. I mean, it would seem that if this message was left, I mean, do you think they've already made -- maybe I should ask Eric. Do you think they've already made an effort to contact this number?

HANEY: I have no idea on that. Though, I note that they've given it tremendous thought, gone over every possible contingency that could take place. There may well be a lot more in that message. You know, all we know is what Chief Moose said, and he's asking the public's help, via the media, that let's make this happen.

KAGAN: And I can jump in on that, Anderson. Just asking for clarification right after that very brief news conference. One of Chief Moose's assistants came out and said, let's just put it this way. That message is going to make sense to the person that we're trying to communicate with, so it might be a mystery to us, but they were very clear. And both Casey and Eric have pointed this out and other people we've talked to. You just know that a lot of thought went into exactly the wording that Chief Moose was going to use when he came out to that podium and read that statement.

COOPER: All right Daryn, Eric, Casey, thanks very much. We are going to go to a short break. We will come back with more on this developing story, as it happens. We'll be right back.


KAGAN: Welcome back to Montgomery County, Maryland. I'm Daryn Kagan. It was within the last hour that we saw Montgomery County Police Chief, Charles Moose, come out, give a very brief news conference and make a statement that was meant to catch the attention of somebody who left a note, or actually, a message at the site of the shooting, last night in Ashland, Virginia. He has asked the media to play it once and to play it often. So let's listen to it, once again. Chief Moose.


MOOSE: To the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa, last night. You gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.


KAGAN: And there you have a direct communication with whoever left that note or the phone number at the site of the shooting, last night.

It sounds confusing to some, if you try to figure if he left the phone number, or he or she left the phone number. How is that supposed to work? But when we asked for clarification after the news conference, we were told, simply, that the person that Chief Moose is talking to will understand very clearly what he is talking about with those directions.

As we mentioned, as you heard Chief Moose mention, that number was left at the site of the shooting, last night in Ashland, Virginia, and that's exactly where we find our Gary Tuchman, standing by right side that Ponderosa Steakhouse -- Gary, hello.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, hello to you, and it's rare that we do live report from the woods, but we're doing it, in this particular case, because it is believed this is exactly where the gunman was, when he fired the shot precisely 24 hours ago in about 15 minutes. This is where we believe he was standing.

And we hear about this message. First of all, we don't know if it's the sniper's message. We don't know if it's a witness's message. We don't know if it was a phone message left at the Ponderosa. We don't know if it was a message that was written. But it's very possible it was a written message from the sniper. This is where the sniper was, so it's just, kind of, almost like an instinct when we walked into the woods, here, we knew that there were a lot of police, here, looking over the last 15 hours, but we're looking to see if they missed anything, if there's another message. It's really an eerie place to be standing.

We want to give you a look at the vantage point this gunman may have had at 7:59 Eastern time, last night. We are behind the Ponderosa. There is a path. It's thickly-settled, as environmentalists might say, these woods. But there is a path, and this is the path that he might have walked up. And as you can see, he would have a perfect view of this back parking lot.

This is the parking lot where the 37-year-old man and his wife were. That white and green building -- you may not be able to tell it's green, right now, because it's now dark outside, but that white building is the back of the Ponderosa. The spot you see, here, is where this couple, from out of state -- they're not from Virginia -- but it's where they parked their car. They came back -- as you can see, it is relatively dark. This man, though, in the darkness of the woods with the lights from the street, from Route 54 in the background, would have had a perfect vantage point in which to fire a shot. And it is believed this is where the gunman was, when he fired the shot.

We want to take you back in the woods, right now, to give you a look at what investigators have been doing for about 16 hours, from 8:00 last night until late this morning or early this afternoon. You can still see, as we wander down here. There's still crime tape up in the trees. And there's lots of garbage, here, on the mud in the woods, which made it harder to conduct their search. They had canine units back here. They has scores of people, investigators, other authorities. They had interns, cadets, who were back here, just searching painstakingly, digging through the mud looking for evidence. We have been told they did find forensic evidence, here in these woods, but we're not being told what the forensic evidence is. The evidence has been sent to a laboratory.

The main piece of forensic evidence is the bullet that is still in the man's chest. It is very likely this man will undergo a second operation. He had a three-hour surgery, last night. He's in very critical condition, but the doctor who performed the surgery, does believe there's a fair to good chance he will survive, and that's good news. But during the second operation, they think there's a possibility they will be able to get the bullet out, and then, they will have more forensic evidence.

But these woods we're standing in, what this man could have done -- it'd be very easy to get away very quickly. If he fired the shot from here -- I'm just going to give you a demonstration. You could run really fast down this path, and you're not blocked by anything. There are no trees in the way. And about an acre away from here, there is a dirt road. It's a road that's under construction, right now. He, literally, could have had a vehicle on that dirt road. And we don't know for sure, but this is what could have happened.

He could have had a vehicle on that dirt road and gotten away, and there's nobody there because it's under construction, and the road is not open right now. But a vehicle could have been on that road and gotten away very quickly. We don't know if he ran away. We don't know if he drove away. But this is a place where absolutely nobody would have seen him.

This is a very busy road, Route 54 behind me, but this area, and we didn't know this until we got back there, until the police opened up this area, a short time ago, that it's very quiet and dark back here. So this man, obviously, knew this area when he fired the shot. This man or men. We certainly don't know if it's one or two people, yet, but whoever was here knew what they were doing. Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: Well, Gary, first of all, that is such an incredible perspective. Hats off to you and your crew for giving us that look from the woods into the parking lot, and you actually may want to do that one more time for people who are just joining us because it is so eerie.

But you, also, make another good point. We're coming up on just about 24 hours, so less than 24 hours since that shooting took place. What the heck are you doing back there? I can't believe that police are letting people just walk through what still could be a crime scene. We've seen with other shootings that they, sometimes, need to go back. I find it incredible that they've just kind of release that area.

TUCHMAN: It's very unusual, and certainly, we would not have barged into these woods, if it is still considered a crime scene. We would respect that. But they said they've done all they need to do back here. They found what they needed to find, and that's why we're back here, right now. We want to give you that look, again, because, yes, it is eerie being back here. I'll admit it to you. We have a number of CNN people here. We feel safe, but it's still eerie because you know what's happened here, and you know how critically hurt this man was and how said the story is.

But let' turn around, once again, and give you the look that he most likely had. There are two or three paths, here, but this would have been the most direct shot into the parking lot. Walked up this path. No one would have possibly seen him. You never would have looked here, if you were coming out of that Ponderosa restaurant.

You see about 30 spots in the back, here. And it's an overflow lot for the Ponderosa. It was, obviously, crowded, last night. This is a restaurant that caters to people traveling on Interstate-95. Interstate-95 runs from Maine to Florida, and this is the midpoint of the United States, obviously, and people stop here to gas up, get food, and that's what this couple was doing.

Thirty-seven-year-old man. We don't know how old his wife is. We have been told they are not from the state of Virginia. They were traveling. They got some gas. They stopped at the Ponderosa for a steak. They came out into this parking lot, where you see these spots here. And this gunman, exactly where you're looking right now, we believe was standing and then, was able to get away, very quickly.

So when we've been talking in these other cases, and we certainly don't know, definitively yet, if this man is the serial sniper. We do know, though, he is a sniper. And that's an important point because if he is not the serial sniper, this may be worse. You're talking about a copycat sniper. But either way, this is a man who, from a distance, hiding, stealth, decided to try to take somebody's life. And he almost did, in this case -- Daryn.

KAGAN: I didn't mean to be critical of you, there. I'm saying, good reporting work. I'm just shocked that police have released that area so quickly. Can't help but notice that the parking lot is empty. Has the Ponderosa reopened or is that closed?

TUCHMAN: Daryn, by the way, in no way, shape or form did I think you were being critical.


TUCHMAN: So let's don't worry about that...

KAGAN: Yes, I'm just surprised.

TUCHMAN: Right. The Ponderosa is still closed, at this point. I'll give you one look, though, at the restaurant. Right next door, there's a Wendy's next door. And that was one thing that authorities were saying there's a Wendy's on one side, a Burger King on the other. And authorities were concerned that perhaps someone was in that parking lot, when this happened, but the Wendy's, right now, has reopened its drive-through. The restaurant, inside, is not opened. The Burger King is still closed. But most of the other businesses on this strip have now reopened.

Everything, last night, was closed. As a matter of fact, last night on the busy street on the other side of the Ponderosa, the Burger King and the Wendy's, the people, who happened to be driving when this happened, were all stopped and told, forget about it, you're not going to be leaving this street for hours, so you may want to get a hotel room, so they just kind of abandoned their cars on Route 54, as the investigation commenced.

KAGAN: Given what took place last night, I bet drive-through is a popular option, tonight.

Let's bring in Anderson in. I think he has a question for you. Go ahead -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Daryn, Gary. Two things jump out at me, as you're showing us just these incredible images, right now. I look at the clock. It is about nine minutes to 8:00, here on the East Coast. It is about exactly 24 hours from the time the shooting occurred, so the lighting conditions that we are seeing, right now, we can assume are the lighting conditions that existed last night at just about the time of the shooting -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Right, and that is something we're thinking about because we know, at this time exactly 24 hours ago at this minute, the couple was inside this restaurant, finishing their dinner, paying their check, not knowing what awaited them when they came out. And right now, you guys understand, it is pitch black, right now. It's not dusk or anything like that. It is pitch black and, obviously, this person thought this was the best way to do it because you do -- from here, we have perfect visibility of this parking lot with the lights. But if you were walking out of the restaurant in a lighted restaurant into a dark parking lot, there's no way your eyes would be able to adjust your rods and your cones in your eyes to see the darkness of this woods and to see if anyone was inside, standing here.

COOPER: We have to go to break, but as we go to break, just also one other thing to keep in mind. You know, you talk about the hope for witnesses. When you pan around and you see the shot into the parking lot, the chance that a witness actually saw a person seems to be -- at that hour, just about the only thing you might be lucky enough to see would be a muzzle flash, if that. And we just think about that, as we go to break.

We'll be back with more of our continuing coverage, in just a few moments.


COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage. We are going to be going into the next hour, in the 8:00 hour, we will continue our live coverage of this breaking story.

Just a few moments ago, we heard a press conference. Montgomery County, Maryland. The Chief of Police, there, saying, really communicating with someone. It could have been the shooter from last night. It could have been someone else, a witness or, perhaps, a hoax. But communicating with someone who left them a message. And the police said they want to talk to that person. They say they want to contact that person at the number that was left for them by this person. It's something of a cryptic message. We will have more on it, when we come back, after this short break.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back to CNN's live coverage of this breaking story. It is 8:00 here on the East Coast, 5:00 on the West Coast. We are going to be preempting CNN PRESENTS TONIGHT because of this breaking story.

We are joined now by Daryn Kagan, who's in Montgomery County, Maryland, who's going to bring us up-to-date on the latest -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes, Anderson, it was just about an hour ago that we were here for this, what was kind of a surprise, news conference by Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. He came out, and he said he had just two statements to say, and he would take no questions.

The first was just a nod to the Hanover sheriff, who's been handling the shooting that took place, last night. And then, the second certainly caught our attention. It appears he was speaking directly to somebody who left a phone number at the scene of the shooting, last night.

Let's go ahead and listen in to what Chief Moose had to say.


MOOSE: It has not been our practice, but tonight, we will not take any questions. We'll take no questions on no topic. And we just ask you to understand.

First, just like to say that the Sheriff of Hanover County, Colonel Stuart Cook, everyone has been very impressed with the prompt response and the investigative expertise demonstrated by you and your people with the shooting, last night. And I would like to remind everyone that the Sheriff's leadership has been critical to this investigation.

The second point I would like for people in the media to carry this point. Carry it clearly and carry it often.

To the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa, last night. You gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.


KAGAN: And with that, Chief Moose, indeed, took no questions, but that last statement certainly got our attention. By the way, it is exactly 24 hours from when that last shooting took place in Ashland, Virginia. And as you heard the Chief mention, it took place at the Ponderosa steak restaurant, very close to I-95. That's where we find our Gary Tuchman, who in the last hour was giving us an incredible perspective of where it's possible the shooter was, as he aimed at the 37-year-old man who was hit in that parking lot of the steak restaurant.

Gary, hello.

TUCHMAN: Hello, Daryn. I will try to give you a little different perspective, this time, a real-time look at what this couple went through, when they left the restaurant, exactly 24 hours ago.

This is the side of the Ponderosa restaurant. We're standing, right now, in the side parking lot, but they weren't able to park in the side parking lot, perhaps because it was full, so they started walking in this direction. And what we're going to do is take you into the back parking lot where they, eventually, parked their car. And where trouble found them.

This couple was not from the state of Virginia. We are not being told where they're from. We are being told they were in the middle of a trip, traveling somewhere either south or north. We don't even know that much, but they don't want to tell us because they haven't been able to tell all the relatives, yet, of this 37-year-old man what happened.

But they came to this restaurant, after gassing up. There are three gas stations here on Route 54. And they had just gassed up, and then, they came here to the restaurant for dinner.

This is the back parking lot, and you can see, there are about four lights in the parking lot that light it up a little bit. But now as you can see behind us, the woods right over here. And the woods -- there's no way after coming out of a bright restaurant that you would ever notice a dark, shadowy figure inside the woods. And that's what we believe is what occurred.

Witnesses report that the one gunshot that was fired came from this wooded area. This wooded area is about one or two acres. There is a path right over here. And this path is where we believe -- there are, actually, two other paths up there a little bit, but we believe -- we've been told the car was parked here, so this would be the closest point. So we believe the man, or men, or should we say woman or women -- we don't want to discriminate, at this point, because we don't know for sure, but of course, statistics show, it's usually men, in this case. But we believe the person was standing back here with a perfect view.

If we could turn around for just one second, John (ph), and you can see a perfect vantage point. It's pitch black outside, right now, but a perfect vantage point of anyone walking out to their car. Very busy street, Route 54, here in Ashland, Virginia.

And that's one of the things we noticed, when we were here, last night, on the other side of the street, we were seeing it's so busy here, how could someone have done that? And that's something we've said at some of the other shooting, too, in very busy places.

But back here, it is completely quiet. And it's very possible that there would have been nobody near by, except for this couple, when the man pulled the trigger, or the people pulled the trigger of this weapon, critically injuring this 37-year-old man, who is now in the hospital and will soon undergo a second surgery.

Daryn -- back to you.

KAGAN: Actually, Gary, while you were out there doing this fine reporting, we got word that he, actually, is in surgery right now, as we speak. Doctors have taken him back in, and we'll be updating his situation, in just a little bit.

But first, I want to be clear. Are you saying that the couple's car was parked all the way on the edge of the parking lot, and they had to walk clear across?

TUCHMAN: There are about two, four, six, eight, 10, I would say about 30 spots in this corner of the parking lot. We are being told by the authorities that they were parked in this section of the lot. Not as close to the restaurant as they could have been. Closer to edge where we're standing, right here, so this would have been the closest point for this person to go.

KAGAN: And do you know exactly where the man was, when he was hit?

TUCHMAN: We believe, we are being told, in this half of the parking lot, but there is nothing that we can see, right now, to show where this might have happened. Obviously, the area would have been cleaned by now. There were many people here, police, other investigators, detectives, cadets, who were working on the scene.

One thing I do want to show you. I want to take a walk real quick, if I can, down into the woods, and give you an idea of something that's back there. About one acre behind us, and you can see this path right here, and we've been showing this for the last hour or so. But about one acre behind us is a road. And we have a closer look at the road I want to give you.

It's a dirt road. It's a dirt road that's under construction, right now. And it's possible -- we don't know this for sure, and we don't know if investigators know this. If they do, they haven't told us, but it's possible that a get-away car could have been there. There are no other vehicles there because the road is closed. But we walked back to the road before, and the only thing you see on the road, right now, are tire tracks. You see a paw track from a dog. There were search dogs back here. And you, also, see some footprints back there. But there is a road where somebody could have, if they chose to, have gotten away, very quickly -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And what does that road dump into? TUCHMAN: What they're doing, right now, they're constructing that road. There are some stores on the other side of the road, and it looks like they're ultimately going to connect the dirt road to a paved road further away. But right now, they haven't connected it, but you can actually drive off the dirt road, and then, go on some grass and then, get on the paved road to get away.

KAGAN: Hey, Gary, Anderson has a question for you. Go ahead -- Anderson.

COOPER: Gary, I'd be interested to know, and again, I guess it's going to be a matter of turning the camera around again, but from your vantage point, you know, you mentioned that Route 54 is a very busy area, but is it pedestrian traffic that it's busy with or is it cars? I mean, the last time you panned around, it didn't really look that there were large numbers of pedestrians walking about. And I'm interested in knowing what locations any potential witnesses could have been in. I mean, it doesn't seem like there's much hope that someone would have seen something all that concretely.

TUCHMAN: Well, you would not confuse Ashland, Virginia with midtown Manhattan. There is very little pedestrian traffic here, but if we can turn around one more time, we will give you a look at what the only pedestrian traffic you do have is, generally, people coming out of the restaurants and the hotels and walking to their cars to get away from here. There are, also, three for four gas stations on this strip, and people get out of their cars to pump gas. So the only walking people you see are people going in and going out of the business establishments that are here, but there are a lot of cars and a lot of lights. And there's a lot of activity here at all times because, on this side of the street that we're looking at right now, you have several fast-food restaurants. On the other side of the street, you have four different hotels. So this is a very busy place for people traveling along Interstate-95 to stop, to stay, to eat and to gas up.

COOPER: Unfortunately, in that shot you're showing, I'm looking at the Wendy's, and it's not a glass-fronted Wendy's or perhaps it is, but the side of the Wendy's that would face this lot, there are no windows. So there's not the hope that there were people sitting who might have observed this while eating their meal.

Gary, while you're there, I want to bring in Eric Haney, who's been with us an awful lot.

You've examined some of the other scenes where a sniper has shot, in the last couple of weeks. As you look at this crime scene now, and you look at it this hour, just about 24 hours since the shooting occurred, what really stands out, as you survey that parking lot?

HANEY: Well, once again, the victim was in a somewhat lighted area. It was back-lit. The shooter was in a concealed position. In this case, probably back in the wood line. My only question would be, and this is just for tactical information, how long is that path, Gary, that leads back to the dirt road? From the edge of the wood line there at the parking lot to where a vehicle could have been positioned?

COOPER: Gary, I don't know if you heard that. How long is the path through that wooded area? Do we know?

TUCHMAN: I can run there in 45 seconds, if I was hustling. It's not long, about an acre or two acres.

COOPER: Forty-five seconds.

HANEY: That's a great answer, and that's about the distance from the point of shooting at the school to where a vehicle would have been parked in that location.

COOPER: Oh, really?

HANEY: Yes. Went back through a wood line to a little open park to a parking lot.

COOPER: Were you at the scene of the school?

HANEY: Yes, I visited that scene, yes.

COOPER: What did you learn from that visit? What really stood out about the M.O. of the sniper at that scene?

HANEY: Well, at that point, it was greatly different from all the other shootings in that the shooter left the vehicle. The vehicle has been the cover and the concealment in all the other shootings, other than this one. And that one, he moved to the edge of a little wooded area that looked across a grassy yard at the school and had a clear shot at the child. They also took some chances because that woodland, at that point, is rather open. It's mature trees. The bushes aren't all that thick, and it could be seen from the road. And then, walking away, he had to walk right through an open park.

COOPER: Interesting. We have a lot more ahead, and we're going to talk a lot about this revelation that we learned just about an hour ago about a message that was left by someone. Could have been the sniper. Could have been an accomplice. It could have been a witness or a hoax. We will have a lot of that, when we back after this short break.

We'll be right back.


KAGAN: Welcome back to Montgomery County, Maryland, where we are still looking at and listening, many times, to a message from Police Chief Moose, who came out in the last hour and spoke, they're saying, to a specific individual. The task force and Chief Moose in Montgomery County are not saying that they are talking, necessarily, to the person that they believe is the sniper or, necessarily to the person who did the shooting, last night in Ashland, Virginia. They are talking to a specific person and giving a message.

And they have asked us to play that message many times, so we are doing that, and we're going to listen one more time. Here's Chief Moose from Montgomery County.


MOOSE: To the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa, last night. You gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.


KAGAN: It was short, but it certainly got our attention just from the fact that Chief Moose said that this was left at the site of last night's shooting at the Ponderosa in Ashland, Virginia. Once again, they won't say directly who they're talking to and, even if some of the language sounds kind of confusing or convoluted, they simply say, the person that we are talking to will know exactly what we are saying, and they will understand the message.

Anderson -- back to you.

COOPER: Yes, Daryn, it was a very interesting development, to say the least. We'll be back with you, just very shortly.

We're joined on the phone by Don Clark, a former FBI investigator, ran the Houston field office, I believe, for the FBI.

Mr. Clark, are you there?


COOPER: I'd just like to get your reaction to what you heard in that press conference about an hour ago.

CLARK: Well you know, when I heard the information about the note, a couple things came into mind. Certainly being with the FBI, a lot of kidnapping and extortion types cases, and you got these notes because there is some inclination that they want to establish a communication link with you. And I suspect that that's probably the thing that's been interpreted from this. But there's another evidentiary aspect to this note.

Keep in mind, there was a first note, the tarot card. So what they've now done has been able to, perhaps, compare the handwriting on the tarot card, the handwriting on the note and, maybe even get some fingerprints. So there's some other ancillary advantages there.

But certainly, if that note is authentic, then I would suggest that perhaps the Chief and the other people have surmised that they do want to make some type of contact.

COOPER: You are the first person I've heard to actually mention that, and it is, of course, a fascinating observation and seems an obvious one, but I certainly didn't think of it. Comparing the handwriting. This would certainly be an obvious thing for them to do, at this point. Obviously, they must take this message very seriously.

CLARK: Absolutely so. And I mean, you know, you've got to look at the handwriting, and you could probably even make a visual, initially, but then, they've got all the experts, there, that's going to be able to look at that handwriting and tell you if it, at least, came from the same person.

But you know, there's another aspect, also, is that perhaps, there may be fingerprints that are on both of these documents. So you've got that possibility of comparison. So if the person got careless, didn't use gloves, and if, in fact, it is authenticated that the same individual wrote that, and that same individual happens to be the shooter, then this could be great strides in the investigation.

COOPER: Something like a piece of paper, you can take fingerprints off that?

CLARK: Yes, you can, very much so. Very much so. That's done very frequently, to be able to take fingerprints from that. That doesn't mean that every fingerprint will come out, as it should, but in large part, yes, you can.

COOPER: Now, we should point out, at this point, we do not know for a fact that this message was left by the sniper from last night. We do not know. It could very well be a witness. It could very well be some sort of a hoax. We just don't know, at this point, so we just want to throw that out there, be very clear about it.

But you mentioned that if it is, in fact, the shooter or perhaps an accomplice of the shooter, if it is more than one person, that it's an attempt to try to establish a communication link. That's what you said, a few moments ago. I'd be interested to know, Mr. Clark, from your experience, why would a potential shooter want to establish some sort of communication link? I mean, is that part of the game? Is it part of the thrill? Or is it a prelude to giving themselves up. I mean, why do it?

CLARK: Well you know, Anderson, I have to rely on the profilers, based in this life, as well as my past life, because those people deal with this historically and can usually come up with some pretty good perspectives as to why they're doing it. But they will tell you that there may be an inclination that this person just has the need to have some contact with the law enforcement. We've heard all day, certainly today, and even before, of these type of people really wanting to play these different games and have some contact with the law enforcement community. This may be that very first effort to do that, to establish that contact and carry this game, albeit as sinister as it is, to perhaps another level of playing with the law enforcement community.

COOPER: And we should point out, we use that word game with no disrespect. This is, obviously, a deadly story. It is a very tragic story. But as criminologists have pointed out, often for the killer, it is, in a way, some sort of a mental game that they are playing. Do you think the game has, therefore, changed, tonight, with the knowledge that this message may be out there? Has the game somehow changed?

CLARK: Well, if that note is a cynic, then yes, that would probably add a different perspective to it. What that perspective actually might be, we can only get in the head of the person who's actually doing this to really determine. But I think that the law enforcement community, and as we heard Chief Moose say, that they are, obviously, making some great strides to establish that contact with him.

And if that happens, then I think they will be able to determine a little bit exactly what game and, certainly, I agree with you. With all due respect to the victims, that this is, by no means, a game. But in the terminology of, perhaps, what this person is talking about, clearly, they might know what the game is. Right now, I don't suspect that they know what the game is, and that's been the disadvantage.

COOPER: We've got to go. I just got one more question for you, Mr. Clark. When you heard this press conference, when you heard the information, what went through your mind? I mean, did you view it as a good development?

CLARK: I certainly perked up because, you know, we've all been following this since the very first time, and but for the tarot card and the false information, which led everybody, the law enforcement community, as well as all of us analysts and you people, the anchors and so forth out there -- it really was a big let down to find that out. So there was just kind of nothing, and there's frustration all around. I know if we feel frustration, you can imagine what the law enforcement feel and to be able to get anything, and especially something like this, -- I don't know the size of it or anything of that nature. But it certainly appear a phone number with something there that gives them an opportunity for the game, some additional evidence that may lead to the capture, identification and capture of this person, it makes me feel that there is a possibility of some movement.

COOPER: Don Clark, former of the FBI, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate your insights, tonight.

Going to go to Daryn Kagan, now, standing by, as always, in Montgomery County, Maryland -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes, Anderson, tracking two parts of this story. Who is the shooter? But also, let's not forget the victim. There is a man who is fighting for his life, tonight, in Richmond, Virginia. We will update his progress, after his break.


KAGAN: All right, to recap, once again, what we're watching here, in Montgomery County, Maryland. That is, over the last hour, we heard a very surprising announcement from Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, who said that he is trying to talk with somebody, would like to talk with somebody who left a phone number at the site of the shooting, last night in Ashland, Virginia.

Now, we've talked a lot about that. What we haven't talked a lot about is the man who was shot and continue to fight for his life, tonight. It is just about 24 hours since that shooting took place. He suffered extensive injuries to his abdomen. He's been in surgery, once, and as we understand it, he is in surgery, once again.

Let's go to Richmond, Virginia, where this man is being cared for and to our Jason Carroll for the latest on this victim.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Daryn, and he is undergoing his second surgery, here at the hospital. The doctors say that this 37-year-old man is still in critical, but guarded condition. And doctors first operated on him, last night. This second surgery, that is taking place right now, will be a second attempt to try and repair some of that extensive internal damage that was done by that second gunshot wound to the upper abdomen.

When that man was shot, doctors say that the man's stomach was severely damaged. His pancreas was torn so badly, the left portion of it had to be removed. His spleen was destroyed, so doctors had to remove that altogether. In addition to that, the bullet also grazed his kidney before finally settling in his chest area. And the reason for that is because, often times, when a person is shot, the bullet doesn't just travel in one direction, and then, stop. It travels around the body, does damage until it finally rests into a particular situation.

Doctors are, also, telling us that they are going to performing this surgery for about, at least, three hours. The first surgery that took place, it lasted, at least, that long. Doctors are going to do their best to repair that internal damage. Once they're done with that, then, if possible at that point, Daryn, they will try and remove the bullet and/or bullet fragments.

Doctors are, also, telling us that this 37-year-old man was in a healthy condition before he was shot. That is, certainly, going to play in his favor. He was conscious, at certain points during the day. At certain times, opening his eyes. He is on a ventilator, so he was unable to talk, especially to his wife, who is here. She has been by his side throughout this entire ordeal. Doctors, again, say this man was in good health. He is relatively young. That plays in his favor, as well.

In terms of his prognosis, doctors say that his chances of survival are fair to good. But he does face many challenges. Some of those I just outlined. Also, one of the challenges doctors also have to deal with, here, Daryn, is the chance of infection. Because this man's stomach was so badly damaged, there are fluids inside the stomach that can, then, spill out, that can cause infection. So that's something else that doctors are going to have to deal with, as well.

But again, this man, at this point, is undergoing his second surgery. It is not unusual, at all, for someone with this type of gunshot wound to go through multiple surgeries -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And, in fact, isn't it almost a positive sign that he is undergoing this surgery because there had to be a certain amount of stability to his condition in order for them to go and do surgery once again. CARROLL: It's absolutely somewhat of an encouraging sign for this man. The fact that they were able to get this man stable enough to go in there and perform a second surgery definitely bodes well for him.

KAGAN: You mentioned this man's wife is by his side. Both of their identities are being protected, as I understand it.

CARROLL: That is true, and I think what we've seen in previous cases with some of the shootings -- again, it's not entirely clear if this shooting has been linked to the sniper, but in past situations, the victims who have survived and often times, their names have not been revealed. I think what doctors are doing, here, is they are doing that just as a precaution. I, also, want to add that in terms of having his wife, there by his side, it's important not only to be physically strong, but to have the mental strength to deal with this, as well. Certainly, it must be mentally encouraging for him to have a loved one by his side.

KAGAN: Yes, this man's been through quite a bit, but also, think about his wife, who, in the last 24 hours, has been an eyewitness to her husband being shot in that parking lot and now, watching him fight for his life.

Jason Carroll in Richmond, Virginia, thank you so much. We'll check back on you, as there is more information on this man's progress.

For now, back to Anderson in Atlanta.

COOPER: Yes, Daryn, and we have a lot more coming up in our continuing coverage of this breaking story. It's about almost 8:30 here on the East Coast. We've got a lot of experts standing by. Eric Haney is a counter terrorism expert. Kelly McCann, security analyst, Casey Jordan, criminologist. We have a lot of reporters out in the field, including Gary Tuchman, who is still on the scene showing us some incredible pictures, literally 24 hours after that shooting last night, from the scene of the crime. We will have the latest on all these developments when we come back.


COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this breaking story. It's 8:30 here on the East Coast. We're going to go to Daryn Kagan for just an update of all that' s happened in the last hour, the last 24 hours, in this investigation -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Anderson, I was just thinking the same thing. You and I have seen quite a bit over the last 24 hours, starting with the latest shooting that took place in Ashland, Virginia. A 37-year-old man shot, as he left leaving a steak restaurant, the Ponderosa steak restaurant in Ashland. We just had an update on his condition, as he faces his second surgery, as he continues for fight for his life.

And then, the latest development taking place right here in Montgomery County, Maryland. A news briefing we didn't expect with the Police Chief Charles Moose coming out and making a statement, talking directly to an individual. They are being specific that they are not necessarily saying it to the sniper, not necessarily to the person who did the shooting, last night in Ashland, Virginia, but to the person who left behind a message at that Ponderosa Steakhouse, 24 hours ago.

Let's listen in, once again, to Chief Moose.


MOOSE: I have two points to share. It has not been our practice, but tonight, we will not take any questions. We'll take no questions on no topic. And we just ask you to understand.

First, just like to say that the Sheriff of Hanover County, Colonel Stuart Cook, everyone has been very impressed with the prompt response and the investigative expertise demonstrated by you and your people with the shooting, last night. And I would like to remind everyone that the Sheriff's leadership has been critical to this investigation.

The second point I would like for people in the media to carry this point. Carry it clearly and carry it often.

To the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa, last night. You gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.


KAGAN: A very short message. To some, it might sound like a confusing message, if you listen to the directions. But the police very clear saying that the person they're trying to communicate with will understand exactly what it is that they are saying.

Anderson, it sounds, in a way, like the police are trying to use the media. I think, at this point, we're more than happy to be used, if it's going to help catch this killer.

COOPER: Yes, I think that will help, we will be happy to do, at this point.

Daryn, I want to bring in Casey Jordan, criminologist, and Eric Haney, counter terrorism expert. And any questions you have, Daryn, jump in, as well.

Eric, let me start off with you. As you listen to that message, as Daryn said, it does sound a little bit confusing on the face of it, and we don't want to go too far down the road of hypothesizing what it means, but how would that work? I mean, you've done hostage negotiation in Central America. What does that mean? The message is you gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us a the number you provided. How would that possibly work? Are we talking about some pay phone?

HANEY: It could well be. You've seen that, probably, the similarities of that in some of the movies. Go to the phone booth at the location of Broad Street and Main at 8:30 on the afternoon of the 14th and wait for a phone call. That could well be that.

I think the greatest thing, here, is if the message is genuine, and you know, Chief Moose didn't just walk out and deliver this thing without a great deal of deliberation on a lot of people, great deal of analysis. It's the first real big step towards resolution. No matter what, it's moving in the right direction.

COOPER: As your friend, Don Clark, formerly with the FBI, just said to us a few minutes ago, you know, one would think they have compared the handwriting in this message with any handwriting they've received before, perhaps on that tarot card we've all heard so much about. And for them to come forward like this must mean that they take this seriously, whether or not it is from the sniper from last night.

HANEY: Well, it most certainly is serious and a great deal of thought has gone into it, so it's movement. We're going somewhere. Hopefully, hopefully, this is what's going to stop the killings, or help stop the killings, right now.

COOPER: And Casey Jordan, you see this moving, as well?

JORDAN: I see it as moving, and I have to agree with Eric that I liked the way that Don Clark thought. But I need to caution you to take a few steps back because at no point did they say the message was left in a written note, and it was actually Gary, our reporter on the scene, who pointed out it could have been a phone message. It could have been something very cryptic. I mean, it could have been something written on the side of a shell casing, maybe only a phone number. It could have left a cell phone in the woods. We have no idea how the message was conveyed to the police, so we have to be extremely careful about that. A phone call could have been made to the Ponderosa, and they got the number off of caller i.d. and that's how the number was left. I mean, just be extremely careful in terms of speculating how the message was left because they're being cryptic for a reason. There's clearly a lot we don't know here. But it's all a good sign.

COOPER: It's an excellent point that you bring up, and the wording that Chief Moose said was to the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa restaurant, so you're very right about that.

Daryn Kagan, bringing you in. You have some question?

KAGAN: Yes, I have a question for Casey. It's been interesting to watch the police take this tactic. What's the risk in going this direction?

JORDAN: Well, it's a very calculated risk, and the police would certainly not get out there and ask the media for help and get this message out there, unless they were really hoping that the tide turns one way or the other. Clearly, they are not satisfied with letting things progress the way the are with random shootings every few days, never knowing where, never knowing when. This is probably going to evoke some sort of response from whoever left the message, be it the shooter or witness, somebody who has knowledge of who the shooter might be. And I think, at this point, they're putting a lot of eggs in this basket, but expecting a payoff one way or the other. It's certainly better than sitting on what they know or don't know and hoping the shootings stop by themselves. It's going to force the issue one way or the other.

COOPER: Daryn, I want to ask Eric a question. You know, we were talking before the break and, as I mentioned, you've done some hostage negotiation work in various places around the world. Tell us about the game and to a lot of these people, it is that game. It is a cat and mouse. It is a game of building trust and establishing contacts. Tell us a little bit about it. Obviously, we're not sure if that's what's going on at play, here, but from your perspective, from your past experience.

HANEY: Well, in my experience, it all centers around operational security when you're dealing with hostage takers, terrorists of another ill and that the phone is a means of being apprehended. So it's the neutral phone to start out with, numbers will be exchanged, and you're always on just for a very short period of time, 90 seconds, three minutes at the absolute most in a country where they really can't move rapidly on phone designation in finding where they're calling from. So this could be an effect, but whatever. Conversation is conversation. Movement is movement. All for the better.

COOPER: Movement is good. And, Daryn, we are, also, joined right now by Kelly McCann. We haven't talked to him since this bombshell literally was dropped at this press conference.

Kelly, your thoughts from what you've heard tonight?

KELLY MCCANN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Anderson, do you have bad deja vu, as well, from last night?

COOPER: Yes, it's pretty remarkable.

MCCANN: Well, you know, I think that it's, obviously, a little bit too early to discern whether this is a witness that has very revealing information and is very concerned about their own personal safety and is using this as a cut out or whether it's, in fact, the perpetrator trying to engage with the police for whatever motivated reason that might be. It could be (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It could be because he, now, is coming down from whatever pathological thing made him do this. So it's really early, of course, to make any jump. It's just a super interesting element of this investigation.

COOPER: And did it surprise you, I mean, when you heard this press conference? I mean, my sort of idiotic first reaction was wow! I mean it seemed so out of the blue.

MCCANN: So far, like the criminology experts that CNN's had have marveled at the fact that there hasn't been some kind of communication, you know, some kind. And that could be either physical evidence left behind intentionally. It could be written notes. It could be phone calls. Some expected that the media could be contacted. So, no, I think basically what it does is it reveals that this has gone to another level, now. I mean, that for some reason this has mutated, once again, and we're going to some other level.

COOPER: Well, my former partner in saying wow, also, has a question, I believe -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes, absolutely. I just wanted to bring Casey back in on this. In thinking about this kind of communication and bringing the kind of person -- actually, just reviewing this, we're saying wow because to us, and again, we're outside the investigation, this appears to be the first kind of communication that we're hearing since the tarot card, but it's important to remember there could be some kind of communication at every one of these shooting scenes, and we just haven't been privy to that information.

JORDAN: Absolutely true, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were different attempts to communicate with the shooter throughout the past week or two. I give the police a tremendous of credit because, as I've established there must be a very careful balance between what the public knows and what the police holds back. Clearly, they've been holding something back for, perhaps, 24 hours and spent a bit of time thinking about it.

I would not be at all surprised if the very specific wording that Chief Moose read to the media was worked on by a committee who wanted to make sure the wording was perfectly clear to the person who left the message, but did not give the public or the media more information than they need to know. All they need is the help of the media to be instrumental in getting this message out, so whoever left the message will contact them.

KAGAN: A question for Kelly, who we tell people is a security analyst, so I'm sure you deal with people who are threatening. At what point do you make that decision to talk directly to somebody, rather than talking around them? What are the risks involved in talking directly to somebody who might be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a threatening situation.

MCCANN: Rest assured, anybody -- if this is what it is, Daryn, if this is an attempt to communicate with the killer, qualified people are going to speak with this person who can negotiate and, basically, communicate correctly with this kind of person. And badly handled, it could be disastrous. But with very qualified people, which the police have, some kind of resolution will likely take place. But it's a give and take kind of relationship. It's a very odd kind of communication, if it takes place, and that's why people are formally trained to conduct that kind of communication.

KAGAN: Kelly McCann, Casey Jordan and Eric Haney, you're all going to stay with us. Don't go far. We're going to fit in a quick break, right now.

We will back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this breaking story. The small community of Ashland, which we've talked a lot about in the last 24 hours, it's certainly not used to this kind of spotlight, never expected to find itself in the epicenter of what's become a massive police investigation.

Among residents, we are told there is certainly shock, there is disbelief. And of course, there is fear.

CNN's Bob Franken is there and has this.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It may be altogether a surprise since this is the next major interstate exit south of the last shooting in Virginia, but in Ashland, just down the road from the highway, a town the resident themselves call Mayberry, the shooting was still a shock, a loss of innocence.

BRENDA HERRING, ASHLAND, VA., RESIDENT: I feel like, you know, we had the rug pulled out from beneath us and, you know, Mayberry has turned into any other city that's' full of crime.

FRANKEN: Ashland Mayor Angela Lacombe presides over one of those rural communities that has considered itself a cocoon, a shelter from the violent problems that seem so far away.

MAYOR ANGELA LACOMBE, ASHLAND, VIRGINIA: My concern is making sure the residents feel safe again, and that they feel secure and that we don't live in a cloud of fear until this guy's caught.

FRANKEN: The cloud of fear hovers over gathering places, like the "Whistle Stop Ice Cream Store" by the railroad tracks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess we knew the possibility of it coming to the town of Ashland, but I don't think that it seemed like a likelihood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is such a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It kind of, kind of unnerving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems like everybody knows everybody else, you know. It's a very quaint little town, population of about 6,000. Just like the old cliche, "It's not supposed to happen here."

FRANKEN: A sad irony. Some Washington area schools had moved their football games to fields and stadiums down here. Now, local officials are wondering where and whether they'll hold football games.

Bob Franken, CNN, Ashland, Virginia.

COOPER: And we take you, now, to Daryn Kagan who's standing by in Montgomery County, Maryland. Daryn, it has been a very interesting night, has it not?

KAGAN: It certainly has been a night of many surprises. One surprise, what Chief Moose had to say, and we've been playing that over and over again. I'm sure that we'll do that as the night goes on.

Another surprise for us was to see where our Gary Tuchman was able to go. Twenty-four hours from the time of the shooting, he was able to go to the exact site and give us an incredible perspective of where this man was hit and where the shooter might have taken his aim from.

And we're going to go back to Ashland, Virginia, and bring back Gary for more of that from the parking lot of the Ponderosa Steakhouse. Gary, hello.

TUCHMAN: Daryn, hello, and we do stand in the section of the parking lot where this 37-year-old man was shot a little over 24 hours ago. This area just opened up to us. It was a crime scene for the first 17 or 18 hours and now, we're free to be here, and that's why we're standing here.

But as we stand here next to the Ponderosa, which is that white building over there, we're just humans. Our minds can't help but wander when we think about this message. Was it a written message? Was it a phone message? Was it a written message left in this parking lot or was it a written message left in the woods, which we're right next to.

And this is the wooded area where police believe the gunman was, when this happened. Witnesses reported hearing a shot come out of this wooded area. It's about one or two acres, and you can see this parking lot. It's a huge back parking lot to the Ponderosa. But this is the area where the witnesses say they heard the gun and, also, the wife of this man -- neither the man nor the wife have been identified, at this point. But the wife said she heard the noise come from here. At first, she thought it was a car. But then, her husband slumped to the ground, and she realized her husband had been shot.

But this is a path closest to where their car was parked. We don't if the gunman or the people involved went down this path, necessarily. However, police apparently do because this is where most of the remaining police tape, the yellow tape that's on the trees, has been left. And this is where most of the work was done.

Canine units were brought down into these woods. Cadets, interns, other police officials. There were scores of people here, last night, early this morning and after the sun went up. They were here until about 12 noon, today, looking through here, combing through here, meticulously looking for any possibility whatsoever of evidence. And indeed, we have been told they did find forensic evidence. That evidence is being brought to a laboratory. We may have analysis about that evidence as early as tomorrow.

But just about a 40-second run away from here is a dirt road. It's possible that this person or persons who fired these shots had a car they could have left it on a dirt road that's under construction and gotten away very quickly.

Daryn and Anderson, back to you. KAGAN: Yes, great perspective there, Gary. You, also, in earlier live shots been able to show us the perspective of the Ponderosa restaurant if you look the camera around and the fast-food restaurants on either side where they might have been, potentially, witnesses that might have heard or seen something.

TUCHMAN: Yes, we'd like to give you a look at that. What the person or persons who was here would have done, if they were on this path, which is very possible because this is the quickest get-away point. And also, you really don't have to worry about being seen here because it's so dark out, right now, and it was pitch black at 8:00 last night.

But this is where they would have come up, and if they had their gun with them, they would have had a perfect vantage point of someone coming into this parking lot because despite the fact that it's so dark outside, there are some lights in the parking lot. The person or persons coming out of the restaurant wouldn't have been able to see anyone in the woods, and wouldn't have been looking in the woods. Why would you look in the woods, when you're coming out of a restaurant after dining?

This would have been a vantage point where they could have fired the shot from right here, and then, run back down the path we just showed you, either run away or run to a vehicle that was parked there and gotten away very fast. And that's what was interesting last night, when we got here, and we got here about two hours after this happened.

When we got here, they were stopping traffic on Route 54. Route 54 is the road right on the other side of these restaurants, the Wendy's, the Burger King and the Ponderosa that's here. They were stopping traffic. They were not permitting people to go anywhere. They were stopping traffic at Interstate-95, which is a quarter mile away from here. But it's very likely that the person or persons who did this had nothing to do with these roads, either ran away or was on the dirt road back in the woods.

Back to you.

KAGAN: All right. Gary Tuchman in Ashland, Virginia. Thank you so much.

We have much more ahead on this case. Right now, we fit in a break, and we'll back after this.


COOPER: Welcome back to the remaining minutes of our continuing coverage of this breaking story. It has been quite a day, quite a last hour-and-a-half, quite a 24 hours since the shooting occurred, last night.

We're going to just get some final thoughts before we leave for this short break. Daryn Kagan standing by in Montgomery County, Maryland. Also joined by Eric Haney, here in Atlanta, and Casey Jordan, criminologist in New York. I want to get each some final thoughts.

First, maybe Casey Jordan, let's start off with you. A lot happened in the last hour, hour-and-a-half. Your thoughts, tonight?

JORDAN: I really feel like we are turning a corner with this investigation. It's been a very difficult, almost three weeks, 2-1/2 weeks, that we've been following this amazing spree, turned serial killing. And we keep talking about how we have very little hope because we have nothing to compare it to. Well, even though we still have nothing to compare it to, at least, we now have some hope that communication might be established and we might be that much closer to apprehending the perpetrator.

COOPER: All right. Eric Haney, your thoughts tonight.

HANEY: Well, it's something different. And something different's got to be pretty good, I believe, and I'm always hopeful, and I'm just going to hope that this leads to a resolution of this situation.

COOPER: Any movement is good because maybe there's a shred of luck or something happens, some sort of break that will help capture this person or persons.

HANEY: It's the crack in some dike. We don't know what it will lead to. We don't know, yet, what it means. In 24 hours, we'll know more.

COOPER: Right.

HANEY: But something's happening. Let's just hope it's resolution, and the killings are over. Let's hope. But we don't know.

COOPER: Right. Daryn Kagan, your thoughts.

KAGAN: Yes, Anderson, as intrigued as I am with the developments that I was able to hear right here in Montgomery County and the requests from Chief Moose, my thoughts, right now, honestly, are with the 37-year-old man who is fighting for his life, right now in Richmond, Virginia. As far as we know, still in surgery, trying to survive these wounds. Also who potentially holds a piece of evidence that could be a big clue for police.

COOPER: That's a good point. And I think, you know, in our coverage of this criminal or criminals, you know, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about what is in their mind, what is their motivation. And we probably don't spend enough time thinking about the victims, about this 37-year-old man who's, as you said, lying in a hospital bed at this moment or in surgery, actually, at this moment. You know, his wife waiting nearby. And about the other people, the two people who were buried on Saturday, two victims from the shootings and all the other victims, both alive and dead.

KAGAN: Very quickly actually on that note, tomorrow, Linda Franklin, who died at the Home Depot on Monday, she will be laid to rest. Her funeral services will be held in Arlington, Virginia. Our thoughts with her family, as well.

COOPER: Absolutely. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of the victims.


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