CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
At Washington Diner, Citizens React to Sniper Arrests
Aired October 25, 2002 - 12:33 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now let's go to CNN's Michael Okwu. He's at a diner in Montgomery County, in Silver Spring, site of the most recent deadly shooting.
Michael, give us a little of the flavor, the mood where you are.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well I can tell you that the mood is one of collective relief, although people are a bit guarded. I think that they've been so steely the past two or three weeks now that it's difficult to rid themselves of that.
But I'm talking now to about three diners here in the Tastee, which is a very popular place I should say, Wolf, here in Silver Spring, which is just in the heart of Montgomery County. And of course Montgomery County being the site of the very first five shootings.
Diane (ph), I want to start with you, how do you feel today now that authorities believe they've got their guys?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am relieved. I was kind of very concerned for everyone. I feel really bad for those people that were shot and killed and I feel bad for their families because they have to carry on. But I just hope and pray that they have caught -- that these are the individuals that they caught.
OKWU: Diane (ph) says that she hopes that these are the individuals, Millard (ph). Is that -- is that your feeling as well? You were telling me earlier.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, absolutely, but I'm still somewhat guarded when I pump gas or walk the streets. Probably will never totally get over, you know, the shock of the last three weeks and what has happened here in this city.
OKWU: That's remarkable, you say you probably will never get over it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably never completely, no.
OKWU: Sheena (ph), do you feel the same way? You changed your life a little bit?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
OKWU: A little bit more communication with your husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
OKWU: Tell me about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since he works for Federal Express, you know, I call him now, you know, just to make sure he's OK with all the pulling over, you know, and things like that. I mean you just never know. So -- but, yes, definitely, you know.
OKWU: Are you going to be doing that now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely. I think I'll do it every day from now on out just to make sure he's OK because I mean we just don't know. No, but I'm hoping, you know, that these are the guys who did it. I really am.
OKWU: Yes, this diner is interesting because it's a real a cross section of a lot of people, I've noticed, and it's really the popular place here. And I think all of us had a view in our minds of who might be capable of this, who was responsible of this, we all had a mental image. Did you find that you sort of constructed a mental image of who this might be and are you surprised -- Diane (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. I didn't really have a picture in my mind. But my brother and I have talking about this and he kind of thought that maybe it was a terrorist involved. You never know.
OKWU: Your husband -- I'm sorry, your...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My brother.
OKWU: ... father lives in Aspen Hill,...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he does.
OKWU: ... the site of the last shooting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
OKWU: You concerned -- were you concerned about him then?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was.
OKWU: And how do you feel about him now and his situation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very concerned about him. Hopefully they have caught the people, and I hope that that is the end of all these shootings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a horrible thing to go through.
OKWU: Thank you, all three, for talking to us.
Wolf, it's very interesting to talk to people here, clearly people feel a sense of relief. At the same time, they're very, very guarded still today. And they're also very concerned about the families who lost loved ones, a sense of collective mourning, even amid all of this relief -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Those Tastee diners, as I personally know, Michael, popular traditions both in Silver Spring as well as in Bethesda. Is business back to normal today?
OKWU: Well, it's interesting, I've seen a lot of people file through here. Before there was a table of some 20 here. People were very happy to come back. In fact, a table of 20 co-workers who say that for the last couple of weeks they really considered not coming here.
I talked to the owner earlier this morning who told me that he was so relieved this morning, not just because he didn't have to look over his shoulder anymore and he wasn't as concerned pumping gas, but also because he's hoping that he's going to get the customers that he is -- that he's accustomed to. He said his business has been hit very hard, specifically in the last two weeks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael Okwu, I hope you get a good lunch out of this assignment. Thanks for joining us.
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