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Interview with Lou Palumbo

Aired October 21, 2002 - 14:23   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Busy news day as we continue our coverage of "Sniper on the Loose." Lots of information coming out. Very difficult to put it all together, to connect the dots. To do that, or to try to help us do that, joining us from New York is security expert Lou Palumbo -- Lou, good to have you with us.

O'BRIEN: This case defies a lot of investigative logic, doesn't it?

PALUMBO: Yes, to a degree it does, because of the nature of the criminal acts that are being committed, the randomness, the mobility, trying to understand what the motive is and what this person is trying to prove or accomplish.

O'BRIEN: Based on what you've heard today, on all these disparate facts, do you have any way of pulling it together for us, or giving us some sort of scenario which makes sense?

PALUMBO: I really don't. I mean, quite frankly, even taking into custody of the two individuals today in Virginia really doesn't lead us anywhere. Right now, with that particular set of circumstances, we really need to just take a step back and let that unfold and develop.

I listened to the press conference earlier, and there is no indication that these men are even being referred to as suspects. Right now, all they are indicating is that they are interviewing them. That really doesn't constitute much in my mind, and I'm not quite sure we are going to have the fruition that we hoped for with them taking them into custody.

O'BRIEN: Quite possibly, we could be in a case where those two people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, possibly.

PALUMBO: Well, you know what? There is something that has to be accounted for here. I -- just recently, I listened to Kelly McCann and I have to concur with him to a very large degree. There are some things that are a little problematic here. One has to do with how this note was introduced into the crime scene, and as he indicated, best case scenario, if it's afforded to you, is to create a crime scene as large as possible so you have a larger area to maintain the integrity of.

O'BRIEN: Of course, that takes a lot of manpower. Now, of course, there was a lot of manpower there, but we're talking about a very large area when you're talking about a long-range shot like this, right?

PALUMBO: That's correct. I mean, as he indicated to to you, these rifles are capable of shots in access of 500 yards. The exact distance that this shooting took place, and I'm not quite sure of. I think Kelly alluded to 100 to 150 yards. It sounds likely -- it is very likely this rifle is more than capable of doing it in a very easy and proficient manner, but you have to realize one other thing. We may have the prerogative in these areas that are a bit more rural and not as heavily traveled, both by vehicle and pedestrian to enlarge our crime scene which kind of gives us the prerogative to take into account a greater area that we can look through.

O'BRIEN: So it is really key where the note was found, isn't it?

PALUMBO: I think it's essential at this point. The other thing I feel is essential is trying to determine what exactly the complicity level is of the two individuals that we are interviewing right now, if there is any complicity, or are these just two more people trying to perpetrate a scam, kind of like we had in the Falls Church shooting.

O'BRIEN: OK. So it is possible -- one of the possibilities is the note and the two people are not linked at all. Another possibility would be these two people are involved in some sort of hoax, and the note was placed there by them. It's completely different outcomes when you go through those scenarios.

PALUMBO: Absolutely. The problem I have is similar to what Kelly McCann indicated, opportunity. You know, I am certain that the minute that this police officer arrived at the scene of a shooting, he requested assistance, and they immediately structured a crime scene. In doing so, it would make it a lot more difficult for someone to introduce that letter.

That is the part that is a little bit confusing at this point and, of course, the fact that we took into custody an individual who happened to be in a van just by coincide, that is one that we have been looking for based on information given to us from witnesses at other shootings, and also that the second individual was taken into custody, apparently on the 4400 block of one of the neighborhoods down in the area, so there are some answers -- some questions we would like to have answered.

Again, I think that the authorities are holding things kind of close to the cuff, which is, again, the prudent thing to do. They can only hurt themselves if they disclose. What they are doing is embracing this policy of non disclosure, and it's hard to criticize them for that.

O'BRIEN: All right. Lou Palumbo, former NYPD investigator, now in private security endeavors. Thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate you shedding as much light as can be shed on this at this juncture. We appreciate it.


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