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Chief Charles Moose Addresses Reporters

Aired October 6, 2002 - 10:01   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The chief of police there -- let's listen in.
CHARLES MOOSE, CHIEF OF POLICE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND: Good morning. I want to cover three major areas and then take questions. First, I want to be very respectful that this case in Howard County is not Montgomery County. I don't want to speak for Howard County Police Department, but I do want to say publicly that all indicators that I have been given at this point tell us that the shooting does not appear to be related. That's from investigators on the scene.

Obviously, it's in an urban area, a wooded area. The body appears to be dumped there from another location, but again, they're doing a great deal of work, detail work. But the initial reaction from myself, from members of my agency, is that this situation is not related.

Later today, specifically at 5 p.m. when we brief, we will be introducing to you the geo profiler. He will brief a few minutes. I encourage you to please understand that we're being given very strong advice by him that the details of his work not be released to the media, because we need to use it for the investigation. But he will be available, he will explain his work, and he will be available for questions from you at 5 p.m.

The interest that we had yesterday with regards to the missing person, with regards to Mr. Baker, we just want to report he remains in custody at the Fairfax County detention facility. He's being held on a $5,000 secure bond and will appear in District Court on Monday, October 7, at approximately 9:30 in the morning.

At this point, I'll take any questions.

QUESTION: What's he being held for? Mr. Baker. And if you can talk about that.

MOOSE: Yes, he is a fugitive from justice with regards to the warrant from the state of Florida.

QUESTION: Yesterday, you thought that your interest in him as a suspect had come to a close. Do you still -- is that still your feeling?

MOOSE: We never reported him as a suspect. He is no longer a missing person. Certainly, I was just giving you that information about his court date in case you wanted to follow up. I won't have anyone there.

QUESTION: Will he be helpful in any way in helping you find the person who's doing this?

MOOSE: Sir, again, as with most of the details of any interviews or investigation, it would really be improper to report on that.

You know, we are trying to keep people abreast, but we very clearly don't want to do anything that assists the people, the person or the people that are doing these things. I don't want to do anything that assists them in eluding being captured. And so I appreciate the patience and the diligence, but we are certainly very concerned that in our eagerness to talk about things, that we provide some information to the people that allows them to remain at large. That is certainly I think understandable by everyone in attendance this morning.

QUESTION: Chief, has the woman in Fairfax been able to talk to investigators, and if so, does that tell you anything of significance?

MOOSE: I missed the first part of the question.

QUESTION: The woman in Fairfax, who was shot in Virginia, has she been able to speak and tell investigators anything?

MOOSE: Again, the woman in Virginia last night when Major Smith was here, Howard Smith, I think people questioned him. But I would have to refer you to the sheriff's office there with regards to their conducting that investigation. And you know, they will give any reports about who said what and what they want to release with regards to that investigation. They have certainly joined us and we are working together, but in all due respect, anything that they want to release about the specifics that she said, I would encourage you to talk to them.

QUESTION: Chief, we understand that you've received perhaps hundreds of leads. Is it possible, to use the expression or whatever, that there may be too many credible leads? Are you overwhelmed with trying to follow up on these leads?

MOOSE: My investigators have not indicated anything about being overwhelmed. Every time I prepare to brief, any time I'm going to do any interview, they consistently tell me to be sure to mention the hotline, the 240-777-2600. We still want to hear from people.

We remain convinced that someone in our community knows who's engaged in this, is aware that they haven't been around, is aware that they've been acting differently, that they've altered their schedule, that they may be gloating. So we want to talk to people, because again, we're not convinced we've talked to the right people yet, because we don't have anyone in custody. And so many, many crimes in this country are solved because good Americans talk to law enforcement people, give us that information, allow us to investigate, and then make a determination if their information is right.

Sometimes, science, as we get better tuned with science, science has been a great asset. But still the majority of law enforcement cases are solved because citizens see something and they willingly come forth and talk to us.

That is certainly why we're very, very hesitant to talk anything about a profile. We don't want to eliminate anyone. If we say that the profile is 17 to 25 and it's your 32-year-old neighbor that's actually doing something, then people say, well, the police said, the guy I think is too old, so I won't call them, I'll just go to bed. I really think he's the one, but they said something different and they just fold their tent. So we don't want anyone to come into this situation with a closed mind.

We don't have enough tips. We want people to call us. We're not overwhelmed. We still have tremendous support from local and federal agencies. I think if we ever get to the point where we're feeling overwhelmed, I'm just going to call and ask for more investigators. Everyone has said they'll send more, they'll do more. So we're very comfortable and want more people to call.

O'BRIEN: We've been listening to the Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, addressing reporters as has become his habit at this hour as this unfolds.

The headline of this came right at the top of the briefing when he said a killing, apparently, a body that was discovered in Howard County neighboring Montgomery County, the body of a 26-year-old man found in a heavily wooded area on Saturday, not related -- not related to this apparent shooting spree that we've been talking about, which occurred over Thursday and Friday afternoon in the Montgomery County area, dropping into the District of Columbia.

Right now, police believe that six fatal shootings are linked to one person. They have ironclad proof that they're related in at least three of those cases, where they have forensics evidence. Beyond that, they believe that it is all the work of one person or persons, apparently in a white van.

And then one other case was a non-fatal shooting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, also they believe related to it. So, the headline is there is not an additional case to deal with at this point. The investigation continues. Leads coming in. Obviously, people who have seen anything or heard anything are invited to contact the authorities there.


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