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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Man with Long Bag Spotted Near School

Aired October 9, 2002 - 10:21   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We may have a significant development in this story of these tragic shootings in the Washington area to report for you this morning. There has been reports that an eyewitness may have seen a man in the woods around a school carrying a long bag that struck that witness as being rather suspicious.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And our Patty Davis is on the scene in Clinton, Maryland and she has the latest for us -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, Prince George's County police say that they got a tip from a man -- that a man entered the woods here, and he's appeared to have been carrying a rifle case earlier this morning. I see right now about seven police cars here behind Rose Valley Elementary School as they check out the tip.

There were also about four police cars checking out the neighborhood nearby. Now, the elementary school right here is on lockdown. No outside activity. Police say they have interviewed a witness in the neighborhood. One police officer characterizing to me says this is a tip, we have to check this out. You know, they've been receiving a lot of tips. They believe that it is through citizens calling in like this and this is how that they will find that killer -- Daryn and Leon.

HARRIS: Patty, let me ask you something, if you can give us sort of a description of the area, just in case what may -- what may have been seen by this eyewitness is something legitimate, perhaps someone going out, conducting some sort of, I don't hunting expedition or whatever. Are these woods in an urban -- not an urban area, but in inhabited areas? Are we talking about this school being around some other houses, or is this just out, a very rural area in the middle of nowhere or what?

DAVIS: Right. Well, this is a residential area. There is a large wooded area all around it, in fact. It is a very woodsy area. There is a couple of schools right in the middle of it. Location- wise, this appears to me -- I came down Allentown Road about five miles or so south of Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, so a lot of people live around here. It's possible that somebody, indeed, could have seen somebody walking into the woods. A lot of woods, a lot of, perhaps, opportunity for somebody to hide themselves if they chose to.

KAGAN: And once again, this is one of many, many tips coming in to police, and police encouraging people to call in, but also try not to have -- they want -- police want people to be aware, but not to be scared, and that is kind of a tough balancing act. HARRIS: Exactly.

DAVIS: Well, and that's an example of this call. This person is very aware. People in this area are very nervous about this sniper still being on the loose, and they are calling in tips. Police say they have thousands and thousands and thousands of tips so far, and they really believe that -- each of these are significant, and they're asking people to call in with things like this, so they can check it out, because at this point, they really need all of the help they can get to track this person down.

HARRIS: Well, Patty, one final question, can you tell whether -- how far away the school is from the woods? Are we talking here about a couple of -- a hundred yards, tens of yards.

DAVIS: Oh, yes. If that. We are talking maybe a football field, and there are police officers sitting in the parking lot. They're standing outside. I see one of them with a bulletproof vest on, but some don't have any protection on at all. But they've cut off the road here, this road that we're on, and there are some police officers, apparently, down -- down the road checking out the woods, looking in that area. A lot of, also, media starting to gather on this point.

But as one police officer said to me, You know, this is something we just need to check out. We may be making a bigger deal out of this than it is, but we simply need to look at everything -- Leon.

HARRIS: Well, let's not do that. Let's not too big of a deal here. We'll just back off until they find something.

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