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Press Conference in Montgomery County, Maryland

Aired October 8, 2002 - 12:04   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to go to Montgomery County. Maryland, because that's where there is another news conference under way right now. We're looking at Doug Duncan. He's the county executive of Montgomery County. The shooting spree in that Washington D.C. area, of course, has alarmed not only that area, but indeed the entire nation.
Let's listen in to Doug Duncan.


DOUG DUNCAN, MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE: ... pleased with attendance numbers. The teacher's attendance is even better than normal attendance. So it's wonderful to see our teachers, our support staff, our principals and administrators meeting their obligations. The students feel safe in the schools. We went into classrooms and talked with students. Clearly, there is anxiety, there is some nervousness, there is some fear, but they felt safe under the code blue in the schools. I just want to thank our teachers, thank all of the school personnel, thank all of the parents who volunteered today.

It's a very dangerous time, but people are stepping up to meet their obligations, their stepping up and saying, this what is we need to do, this is our job, to protect the children, and everybody is doing our part. I want to thank them.

I also want to introduce two gentlemen next to me, but I want to start with our governor, Parris Glendening. It's been a remarkable show of support and of help from the state of Maryland. I spoke with our governor very quickly after the shootings happened, I spoke with our lieutenant governor very quickly after the shootings happened. They said whatever you need you will get, and they've given that us to and more.

The work of the Maryland state police, all of the things they have done for us, their visible presence on streets, in addition to everything else, it has been extraordinary, and it has been sorely needed here in Montgomery Country. So, governor on behalf of all residents, I want to say thank you for the efforts.

Ladies and gentlemen, the governor of Maryland, Parris Glendening.

GOV. PARRIS GLENDENING, MARYLAND: Doug, thank you very much.

Let me first just thank you for your leadership. You know, in difficult times like this, it takes one individual to step forward and pull people together and make a difference, and you have been doing that, and we're pleased to be of help to you.

I want to thank Mayor Anthony Williams for being with us here today as well.

Let me make several quick points. First of all, personally, and on behalf of all of the citizens of the state, we extend our condolences, our prayers, our support for the families of the victims of this horrible, horrible series of crimes.

Everywhere I go throughout the state, people ask the same question, how are we doing catching this person and how are the families doing? And so, the entire state, as I know much of the country, joins in extending our prayers to the families.

Let me also just note if I might, try to describe this criminal who is doing these things, and you feel the frustration and you feel the anger, but I'll also tell you, and several people say this but I think they're exactly right, we're talking about a person here who is basically a coward. This is not an individual here who is out there doing something strong, or manly or anything of this type. This a person who is shooting elderly men, shooting women, and now shooting little children.

And I really think if there is any message, it is for this individual to turn himself in. To stop this insane killing, to stop this insane killing. I think it's extremely important, and they understand that no one is looking up to him, that no one is thinking this is a great act that he's doing. We're all thinking this is an act of absolute cowardice.

Let me also just say how pleased I am with the regional cooperation that we have been receiving. Every level of government is working together. The District of Columbia and you'll be hearing from Mayor Williams in a moment, Virginia, our federal partners, our local partners, and we appreciate this tremendous level, and it does take that type of cooperation. If you think about it, eight shootings, six deaths, two injuries, four jurisdictions, almost unprecedented.

I also want to thank the men and women in our law enforcement who are working such extraordinary long shifts. You can see that they're tired, you can see the exhaustion, but you can also see they're committed to make a difference. You'll be hearing from the police chiefs, but again, the cooperation and the work has been just absolutely super.

Dave Mitchell, the head of our state police, when we talked about this initially, we made a commitment that we do everything possible. We have over 140 Maryland state troopers now in Montgomery and Prince George's County working with local police. We have ensured there is at least one officer now in every school in our two counties.

In addition to this, as we announced last night, I have added $100,000 state money to the reward fund, asking people to step forward with information.

In addition to all of this, we are making sure that additional equipment, intelligence-gathering operations and others are available from the state to local officials as well.

Let me also tell you that the response has been great not just from here, but from Maryland, from this region, but response from all across the country.

In fact, just a little bit ago, I had a call from my colleague, Governor Judy Martz from Montana. She heard about what's going on here. A business person in Montana touched base with her and has offered an additional $50,000 to go into our reward fund. She is sending a letter to governors all across the country, asking for private contributions of this type to help this as well.

Bottom line on this is, we have to understand two things, for this criminal, for this cowardly individual who is going around and trying to instill fear in our communities, we will catch you, there is no question, and you'll be brought to justice. You have got to understand that. That's why we're saying turn yourself in.

But also for our citizens, across the board, it is important that we continue with our routines of life. Yes, we're going to be more careful, yes, we're going to work with our children, yes, we're going to use common sense, yes, we're going to work with our local police and anything that we see that may be suspicious, but we're not going to allow one individual to disrupt our education, disrupt our lives, disrupt our economy. And people understand that. And that's why the response has been so great. I look forward to being able to stand here with my colleagues and tell you before long that we have brought this horror to an end.

Thank you.

DUNCAN: Governor, thank you very much for your leadership, thank you for your assistance, thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement here and especially I want to say thank you for your words about regional cooperation. It has been unprecedented to see the level of cooperation from the state, federal and from the local agencies.

And right after these shootings happened on Thursday, right when we sort of began to understand what was happening, we got assistance from Mayor Williams, from Chief Ramsey, from the District of Columbia to the Metropolitan Police Department. They were there helping us every step of the way, and then the mayor and I a spoke on Friday, when it became clear that the shooting in the District of Columbia was related to the shootings in Montgomery County. The mayor and I spoke and reaffirmed our pledge of support and commitment to each other and two our two jurisdiction.

So ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the mayor of the District of Columbia, Anthony Williams.

MYR. ANTHONY WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON D.C.: Let me as mayor of neighbor of Prince George's, neighbor of Montgomery County, neighbor of Maryland, mayor of city that's part of a community -- we talk about a region, this is really a community -- acknowledge certainly the governor and his commitment of state resources through this effort and his leadership overall. Certainly acknowledge county executive Duncan and Chief Moose for working under very, very difficult conditions, to not only provide safety up here in our community, but also to assure our citizens that working together, we can overcome this challenge.

Also, acknowledge with me my deputy mayor for pubic safety Margaret Kellems, my chief, Chief Charles Ramsey, is deputy assistant executive assistant Chief Mike Fitzgerald, all working very closely with the chief here, with the officials in Prince George's County on what really is a collective effort, because what happens in any part of this community affects us all. A threat to anyone in this community affects us all. A coward, as the governor has said, who isn't sparing the elderly, who isn't sparing woman, who isn't sparing children. This kind of coward and these heinous acts affect us all.

But all of us can send a powerful message that working together, we can get our arms around this and bring this person to justice, and working together, we can do something even more important, and that is, show that standing together and standing tall we won't let a coward like this disrupt our way of life, let a coward like this disrupt what we believe, and that's why I'm here to support this effort. And I want everyone here to know that, collectively, you're going to our full unstinting support as we get to the bottom of this.

Thank you all very much.

DUNCAN: Mayor, thank you very much. Thank you again for your cooperation, and assistance and the resources that you brought to bear in this case. Another gentleman that I talked very early on was my counterpart in Prince George's County, Wayne Curry. He is out of town, but he had committed resources from Prince George's County to assist us in this effort, and then we got the horrible news once again yesterday. I mean, it was like a second shockwave through our community, when we heard yesterday that the shooting in Prince George's County was related to the shootings in the District, Virginia and Montgomery County.

Ken Glover is here, is the chief administrative officer for Prince George's County is here, representing Wayne Curry.

So, Ken, please come forward.


Yesterday was a surprise for the 801,000 citizens of Prince George's County. The county executive being out of the country immediately called back and gave directions, but in addition to that, there was leadership immediately from the governor's office by virtue of the governor, his chief of staff, the lieutenant governor.

The second call, oddly enough, was someone already in the middle of the situation. It was Doug Duncan, with calls coming from the mayor, as well as Janet Owen (ph), dedicating a lot of resources to us.

What is clear to happen is this one of those historical moments led by the governor, mayor, the county executives, where you have a global focus on crime and this particular type of crime. It was unfortunate that it was a young person, but it would be equally unfortunate to think that any life is not sacred.

So in Prince George's County to the residents that we have, we want people to know three things: one, we will protect all of our citizens, and now, we just got stronger by virtue of the state, the county, cities. Second, we'll do everything we can to support regional effort to make sure that the people involved behind this will no longer be able to violate laws, our lives, our homes and our community. And the third thing is spend a lot of energy and resources with the state's help, to make sure that life returns to normalcy. And if you heard the governor say anything, he said, he is interested in having life go back as usual, and we would like to work with him, the district and all partners for that effort.

We will be busy in Prince George's County, as in the region. We will dedicate the resources.

Thank you.

DUNCAN: Our other partner, the other jurisdiction where a shooting occurred is in Spotsylvania County and the state of Virginia. They have been tremendous in their cooperation, their coordination, their investigative work, everything we need to solve this case. They have stepped forward with, and representing the governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, is the secretary of public safety for the state of Virginia, John Marshall.

So, John?

BLITZER: So, we're getting regional cooperation in the greater Washington D.C. area, from Maryland, from Virginia, from the District of Columbia; county officials, local officials and state officials expressing their determination to go out and catch what they all call this coward. We will catch him, Parris Glendening, the governor of Maryland says.

Apparently no new information on the whereabouts, no new information about tips or other evidence in the series of shooting that has certainly alarmed everyone in the greater Washington D.C. area, alarmed everyone indeed in the county. Six people dead, two people injured. The most recent yesterday, a 13-year-old boy being dropped off to go to middle school in Prince George's County, right outside the nation's capital.


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