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West Virginia Officials Form Task Force in Sniper Investigation

Aired August 22, 2003 - 19:03   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We move on now to West Virginia, where officials say they need help. They want to find two men who might know something about the killer or killers responsible for three deadly sniper shootings. They're setting up a special task force.
They released a composite sketch of a man reportedly spotted in a dark pickup truck near two of the shootings. And they say that a tall, thin man with -- quote -- "hairy white legs" may also have information. There are ballistic tests that now show that the same .22-caliber rifle was used in each attack.

We have more on the story now from CNN's Maria Hinojosa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One week and a day since the last deadly shooting in West Virginia, and the ATF tries to recreate a sniper attack.

Using laser beams to measure a shot's distance and positioning themselves inside a truck similar to one spotted here the night of the shootings, crime solvers attempt to think and act like a criminal. There has been slow progress. This composite sketch was featured prominently on the front page of the local papers Friday morning. And Friday afternoon, authorities emphasized the importance of speaking with this man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sketch of that individual is of the individual that was inside that dark colored or maroon truck that was spotted at the Go-Mart on Route 60. We have witnesses that saw him in that truck.

HINOJOSA: At Southern Kitchen in Charleston, a 56-year-old local diner, uneasiness now about gun violence in a city where only 10 people were murdered in all of last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary. When I go to stop at a streetlight, I'm sort of really scared about it. If a truck or something pulls up in front of me or beside me, it's sort of scary, I think.

HINOJOSA: But not everyone has given in to the fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think he should scare us enough to just stay locked in, because wherever he's going to be, he's going to be, I guess. But I think he'll mess up and they'll catch him.

HINOJOSA: At Peggy's Dairy Treat, Kelly Schoolcraft (ph) says she feels safer with a much more visible police presence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see a lot of deputies go up and down the road. And they come in the restaurant. And, at night, we're pretty busy.

HINOJOSA: But in a state where carrying a concealed and loaded weapon is legal, a message from one West Virginian to the sniper.

CALVIN ARMSTEAD, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: Somebody might get him without -- before he gets someone else. He has to kind of start watching his back, too. That's all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: Now, Daryn, that composite sketch of the man, the heavyset man, was actually -- he was seen at one of the shootings.

Now, we have also heard from investigators that, tomorrow, they will continue to do these recreations, those reconstructions of the shootings, to try to get any evidence that will lead them any closer to this shooter or shooters. People here certainly want that to happen quickly, so that they can get back to their normal lives here in Charleston, West Virginia -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Understandable.

Maria Hinojosa in Charleston, thank you for that.

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