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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Five Shot Dead in Suburban Washington D.C.

Aired October 3, 2002 - 13:02   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Someone shot five people dead within 15 hours in suburban Washington.
And now authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, say they're looking for a calculating killer.

Our national correspondent, Bob Franken is on this story.

And Bob, looks like the victims were apparently chosen at random. Is that right?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the theory that the police are operating on. And the other one, which is almost to the point of being an operational order as opposed to a theory, is that it was the same person, or persons, as the police chief said in a statement a while ago, because the weapons calibers apparently match up.

In addition to which, the situation is this: We are waiting for a news conference from Montgomery County, Maryland police officials, which is going to start at any moment. At the moment, the schools in Montgomery County are in what they call a "Code Blue" lockdown, meaning that the students are being kept inside, no recess, nothing like that. Police officials are saying to the parents, "Stay away. The children are safest in the school where they are now, in a protective environment."

That has also spread to the District of Columbia, Washington, which is adjacent. Police departments all over the area are looking for a white van, the Isuzu type, looking for somebody, a person or persons who might be in it.

Now, this is a series of events that began last night. First, there was a shooting at about 5:20 p.m. at a craft store not far from here. Nobody was hit, but just about 40 minutes later, at a shopping center, at a Shoppers Food Warehouse, which is a grocery store chain here, a 55-year-old man was shot and killed by walking out.

Then, there was nothing until this morning, about 7:30, 7:41 exactly, when a man who was cutting his grass along the same street where the first shooting occurred, which is a major thoroughfare, was shot and killed.

Then, at the Mobil gas station in back of me, still another shooting. This was a taxi cab driver, who was pumping gas into his vehicle. He was shot and killed. Again, the assailant was not seen.

Then at -- near a post office at a retirement center, a woman was shot and killed.

And then the final one occurred about 10 a.m. today, when a woman who was at a Shell station, not far from here was shot and killed. She was vacuuming her car and after she collapsed, attendants, not knowing what had happened, ran over to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MISTRY, GAS STATION CO-OWNER: We heard a noise and we believe is was when the electricity went out.

So, we didn't pay a little bit of attention. Then the couple of ladies come by -- come from there and she said there's something wrong with this lady. So, we went to go, you know, help her, to pull her out. We couldn't -- because the door was on top of her, we couldn't pull her out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: They thought that this was a heart attack, they did, but quickly the police on the scene said that the woman had in fact been shot.

So, it stands at five right now. The police have begun, obviously, a massive manhunt for the people who may be involved in this. They don't know if it's one or more than one. There's nobody yet that we're aware of who has been a witness, who actually said he or she saw anybody who was actually doing the shootings.

But, again, they're looking for a block-type van, the type that might be an Isuzu. They've shut down the schools. And of course everybody now is very concerned about the possibility there could be more shootings -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Bob, what kind of community is this? It's not a shady area, is it?

FRANKEN: Well, Montgomery County is a, for the most part, affluent suburban part of Washington, D.C. This particular area is probably in the middle class or upper middle class area.

It's a little bit out from D.C., where people who can't afford the prices of D.C. oftentimes move.

But, again, you have to remember with all the streets, somebody like this could be quite mobile. So, the entire area is being covered by police departments.

PHILLIPS: All right. Our Bob Franken. Thanks, Bob.

We are waiting for a press conference from that area. We'll bring it to you live as soon as it happens.

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