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Police Chief Moose Briefs Reporters

Aired October 5, 2002 - 17:05   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Let's listen to the police chief right now.
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: At this time, we'd like to return to -- we spent a lot of time today on a missing person situation. I'd like to report at this time that Mr. Baker is no longer a missing person. He has been located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is in custody on an outstanding auto theft warrant from the state of Florida.

There was no weapon of any type in his possession. We are currently working with Fairfax authorities and we're having conversation with the gentleman at this time.

We have no forensic information. None of that has been completed. Nothing available at this time with regards to the automobile from Virginia. The next briefing is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. I will take a few questions at this time.


MOOSE: He's in custody for an auto theft warrant.

QUESTION: Why are you starting this press conference with that? Why the concentration on Mr. Baker, the first thing out of your mouth? Why is he important?

MOOSE: Sir, for those people that were here earlier today, we spent a lot of time on that matter and somehow I made the decision that people wanted to have that information. I'm sorry, was there something else that you wanted to talk about?

QUESTION: Is he a suspect?

MOOSE: Sir, for those people -- I'm sorry you weren't here earlier. He is not a suspect. We tried to make that clear, and I apologize if we failed in that capacity.


MOOSE: Surrounding his?

QUESTION: How he became detained by the Fairfax County police.

MOOSE: There was a missing -- and the law enforcement personnel found him, took him into custody, so he is no longer missing. QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). What sort of circumstances led to him being spotted?

MOOSE: I really don't have any information to provide with regards to that.


MOOSE: Sir, we've eliminated him as a critical missing person. He is in custody on an outstanding warrant for the state of Florida.


MOOSE: Again, we certainly are talking to the gentleman, and certainly we're not going to give any details about the questions or anything further. He's in custody. He's no longer missing.


MOOSE: Any other questions?

QUESTION: Excuse me. Could you just clarify when you say you've eliminated him as a critical missing person, do you mean he is eliminated as critical from the case or you've eliminated him as a missing person, because he's now a found person?

MOOSE: Yes, he is now found, so he is no long a missing person. Our missing person case that we held at the Montgomery County Police Department is closed.

QUESTION: Is there anyone else that you consider to be in any way missing that you're looking for at this point in time in this investigation?

MOOSE: No, ma'am.

QUESTION: Chief, could you please clarify your comments about you say you have no forensic material. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MOOSE: The work that we have been talking about in terms of forensics on that car is ongoing.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the forensics on that car, the Virginia car, you say it's significant. Why?

MOOSE: I said it is ongoing. He asked why we didn't report on it and because he said -- is it because it's no good or is it because you're still doing it? And I told him it's because we're still doing it.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is it significant to this case?

MOOSE: The reason we're doing the work on the car from Virginia is to determine whether or not that incident is related to the incident in Montgomery County and in Washington, D.C. I think that makes it significant. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

MOOSE: In my professional opinion, certainly we'll do some follow-up investigation, but we have no evidence whatsoever that the tragedy on University Boulevard has anything to do with the shooting situation in this community.

QUESTION: Where do you stand right now (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the profile? Do you have a better idea of what this person is like, and are profilers telling you that they still think he would remain in the area, or do they think that this person would likely leave the area? What are they telling you?

MOOSE: The FBI has been nice enough to do some work and prepare -- or are in the process of preparing a profile. I don't want to pretend that we're, like, talking to them every 15 minutes and they're doling out bits and pieces. When they finish their work, they'll give it to us. We're not talking to them, asking them things every 15 minutes. So I have not talked to anyone. We're going to allow them to do their work, and when they do their work, they'll give it to us.

QUESTION: Sir, are you working on the assumption that the shooter or shooters is still in the Montgomery County area, or has been apprehended, or is in another area?

MOOSE: I don't have any information that a person has been apprehended with regards to these shootings. We will continue to police our community with the idea that the person or persons that have committed these crimes are still out there. It would be insulting to the people that live here to reduce a level of protection and make some assumption -- to make assumptions that somehow they're not here, to guess, to speculate is not the way that we perform at the police department.


MOOSE: I didn't say anything about how we took the gentlemen into custody.

QUESTION: Did you say anything about the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) vehicle (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

MOOSE: No, I did not. I did not say anything about...


MOOSE: Earlier, I explained to the gentleman that I wasn't going to go into any detail, any information. He has been removed as a missing person and he is in custody for auto theft, a warrant from the state of Florida. There is nothing else that we are at this point at liberty to provide about that situation.

QUESTION: Can you tell us if his wife is cooperating? She contacted you initially (ph).

MOOSE: There is nothing else that I'm prepared to say about that situation.

QUESTION: Has any evidence been found in the Virginia car yet? Has any evidence been found, bullet fragment or bullets right now?

MOOSE: That work is ongoing, and at this point there is nothing to report.


MOOSE: I would encourage us to remember a few hours ago how County Executive Doug Duncan talked about the mood of the people at the Taste of Bethesda, people at soccer games, people at Little League football, people moving about the county. Everyone is certainly apprehensive. People still have anxiety, but people are continuing with their lives. We appreciate that, but, again, we understand that there is a level of anxiety.

At this point, we will handle any additional questions offline, and our next briefing will be at 9:00 p.m.

WHITFIELD: All right. You've been listening to Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose say that they have no suspects in custody as related to the six deaths in Maryland and D.C., and they continue to look over forensic evidence. They have no conclusive evidence linking the Virginia shooting yesterday to the shootings that have taken place already in Maryland and in D.C.

Our Kathleen Koch is there in Montgomery County and she is standing by. You were able to hear the police chief talk. He did spent an awful lot of time on a man by the name of Robert Baker, who says that he's no longer a missing suspect, but he is not a suspect and never was in this case. Can you explain a little bit more about his role here in this news conference?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, as I had mentioned before the news conference began, this is a man who had been reported missing by his family Monday night. He lives here in Montgomery County, he lives in the neighborhood where some of the shootings occurred. Actually, not very far from where the very first shooting occurred on Wednesday evening. That was where a single bullet was fired into a Michael Craft's store.

Now, again, police said only that he was missing, that he owned the type of gun that could fire the type of bullets that were used in the Maryland shootings and that his gun was missing too. But as you heard the police chief say, no gun was found at this point with him when he was apprehended in Virginia and then held on this outstanding warrant apparently in Florida.

But earlier today, in the very first briefing of the morning, Police Chief Moose pointed out that they were looking for this man because people in the community had alerted them saying that they had some concerns about guns, his state of mind and his well-being. There is a quote from this morning. So we're not sure if it was family members who were concerned, but clearly the police chief at this point does not want to draw any direct connections, but it's clear they will be talking to him in the coming days and days -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kathleen Koch, thank you very much. Appreciate it, from Montgomery County.


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