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Two Tragedies Strike L.A.

Aired July 4, 2002 - 20:23   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you on the shooting incident that left a gunman and two other people dead at Los Angeles International Airport today. For the details, as we know them now, we go to CNN's Charles Feldman who is on the scene -- Charles.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, as you can imagine, this has been a horrific day here at LAX. And a lot of the details have been changing as they often do in a story such as this. But here's the latest that we know of.

We have had three independent law enforcement sources tell CNN that the alleged shooter here appears to be an Arab male. They stress that this is just based on appearance, not based on any positive identification, and also stress that, of course, appearances can be deceptive. But that is what three different law enforcement sources say about the alleged shooter.

All we know at the moment is that the shooter came into this airport at the El Al ticket counter at Bradley International Terminal at about 11:30 this morning Pacific time. He apparently opened fire on at least one person who is on the ticket counter line. That person has died of wounds. Two other people seriously injured. Several other people were injured, some apparently by knife wounds. Unclear how that happened.

And then, earlier, we were told throughout the day that it was an El Al security person who fatally shot the alleged shooter, the assailant. But at a news conference earlier this evening, just about a half-hour ago, they seemed to be unsure, law enforcement that is, whether in fact that is what happened. They're still, they say, looking into it.

As to the alleged gunman, whether he is or isn't Arabic in appearance, again, I stress that the sources are saying that this is based purely on the physical ID which can be highly deceptive. And, in fact, at a news conference, also within the hour, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation pointed out that a male Hispanic might also appear to be Arabic or Middle Eastern and that's why they want to wait for a positive ID -- Aaron?

BROWN: Charles, I thought, and I may be wrong on this, that I heard the FBI agent say that -- this is what I wrote down, that the man was 52 years old. If, in fact, I wrote that down correctly, they must know who he is. FELDMAN: Well, there's been some discrepancy also about the age. I saw inadvertently, I should say, a FBI piece of paper that had the characteristics of the assailant. And it described that person as being Arab, as being male, 30 to 45, and as being about 200 pounds in weight. As to the actual age of 52, I haven't been able to find anybody on the scene to confirm that.

BROWN: Sometimes I can't read my own writing, too. This happens as well. Anyway, there is a lot to still learn on this and we'll keep reporting on this story. And as we learn more, we will pass it along. Charles, thank you. Not a Fourth of July you thought you'd be spending.

The shooting isn't the only tragedy that's made news in L.A. and around L.A. today. There was another accident. This is an accident in a suburban park in San Dimas. A small airplane plowed into a lake, skipped on to the shore and crashed into the crowd. The FAA says one of the two people on board the Cessna 310 was among the three people killed. At least 15 people were injured, several critically.

Governor Gray Davis says the pilot made two Mayday calls before crashing. There is no evidence here -- I guess we're going to say this thing a lot for a while -- there is no evidence here to suggest terrorism.

We'll have more news developments as they warrant throughout the evening.

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