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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Sniper on Loose: Authorities Get New Evidence

Aired October 15, 2002 - 12:16   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators in six Metro D.C. counties are now involved in the search for the so-called elusive sniper. With the new evidence produced in last night's shooting in Virginia, could they be in for a break?
Our law enforcement analyst, Mike Brooks, is joining us now from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

It looks, Mike, that they did come up with some additional evidence that might be pretty useful last night. Is that your take?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's what I'm hearing, Wolf. And there also apparently were some good interviews with witnesses who were on the scene. It's believed they also got a partial tag number on this particular van, and that is a big break in this particular case. And...

BLITZER: You heard...

BROOKS: I'm sorry?

BLITZER: Yes, I was going to say, you heard Barbara Starr's exclusive report just a few minutes ago on the request to the Pentagon to get involved.

That sets the stage for our first e-mail from a viewer, Gerald in Chicago, who writes this: "Is enough being done to catch the sniper? Why not deploy the National Guard to monitor movement on streets and highways? What about performing a house-to-house search? This may sound drastic, but this killer needs to be caught."

Does Gerald have a point?

BROOKS: Well, when you talk about house-to-house searches, I'm sure that the civil libertarians, no matter how bad of a case and how tragic a case this is, wouldn't stand for it.

Now, the National Guard, you know, that's an idea. We know in Washington, D.C. just recently during the Taste of D.C., they had a large police presence, and they also had the National Guard that was out assisting, as they do many times, with traffic and crowd control. It has to be asked for by the governor of the specific state or the mayor of the District of Columbia if the National Guard is to be used.

Now, there was, last Saturday during the "Reporter's Notebook," there was a question asked about the use of satellites. And now, we hear what Barbara Starr was just reporting. But again, there's a Posse Comitatus law, which prohibits the military becoming involved in police law enforcement -- civilian law enforcement matters. So, they have to overcome that, and I'll be interested to see what will come out of this out of the Pentagon.

BLITZER: Well, they can easily overcome that stipulation, the Posse Comitatus regulation. The defense secretary, the president signing off on that during riots, as you know, in Los Angeles and elsewhere around the country over the years...

BROOKS: Exactly.

BLITZER: ... they've been able to bring out the National Guard to get involved. That doesn't seem like an overwhelming obstacle, especially given the enormity of this particular series of serial killings. Is that your sense as well?

BROOKS: Yes, that's my sense also, Wolf. They're pulling out all of the stops now.

You know, last night just showed the brazenness in such a high- congested area, in the covered parking area outside of a Home Depot. This couple, you know, Linda Franklin and her husband, they were getting ready to move on Friday, and that's one of the reasons they were at Home Depot. And it's a tragic loss to the FBI, and it's a tragic loss to the community in general, and it's just the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's believed that the van went eastbound on Route 50 right there at Seven Corners, made a U-turn, and then went westbound on Route 50, and then on to 495. Where it went after 495, that remains to be seen.

BLITZER: You used to live in this area. You worked here for many, many years. Like me, you know this area quite well. Tell our viewers how congested that area around Seven Corners in Fairfax County really is, even at 9:15 at night, last night local time, when this shooting occurred?

BROOKS: It really is. That area has a number of traffic lights. And the reason they call it Seven Corners is because of all the different roads that intersect there. I mean, you've got two major roads, Route 7 and Route 50, that come together right at Seven Corners, and they lead out to Route 495 and Route 66, two other main thoroughfares in the Washington Metropolitan area.

It's very brazen of him, and it's not like him to go to an area like this, where he could possibly get trapped. You know, so again, the brazenness of this killer last night is just -- it's unprecedented.

And I know we were also hearing from Chief Manger from Fairfax County the first inkling -- the first inkling at all of a mention of an arrest. He was talking on one of the presses about -- the press conferences about the information that was gotten last night from the scene, from the interviews, could lead to an arrest. And that's the first time we have ever heard an arrest being mentioned in this particular case.

BLITZER: We have another e-mail from Shannon in New Jersey. Mike, let me see if you can handle this one. "Is it possible that the sniper is able to evade capture because of the extensive information provided by the news media? I understand that some things merit reporting, but shouldn't some information be kept secret so as not to damage the investigation?"

BROOKS: I think in this particular case, Wolf, a lot of the information, as Chief Moose has said today and Daryn was reporting earlier, they're making it a need-to-know basis. Now, there's some information on the case and some other investigative techniques that they're using that I'm not going to mention on the air, because it would damage the case.

So, right now, I don't think what we're seeing on the air of what the media is saying is going to, you know, enable him to get away any quicker.

You know, right now, with the sniper, it's not like you have a shooting with a perpetrator and a victim in close proximity. You have the victim, everyone puts their attention to the victim, they turn around, you know, the perpetrator is gone. He's vanished into thin air it almost seemed at some of these scenes.

But last night, in this congested area, it seems like some of the -- it sounds as if the witnesses saw more than they've seen at any of the other scenes, and hopefully we can get some more information that will help lead to the arrest of this individual.

BLITZER: Mike, before I let you go, the fact there was a box truck that the police are looking for, and now this cream-colored or white Astro van, the Chevy Astro van, there's been some speculation that it may be more than one sniper who's involved in this, there could be two or perhaps three. Does that resonate with you?

BROOKS: Well, I'm hearing from some sources it's possibly one shooter and possibly someone who drives for the shooter. And so, you know, that remains to be seen. It's all part of the investigation.

There's a possibility, and hopefully we'll find out a little bit more a little bit later.

BLITZER: All right, Mike Brooks, our CNN law enforcement analyst, vast experience here in the Washington area -- thanks for joining us.

BROOKS: Sure.

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