CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Panel Discusses Beltway Sniper
Aired October 20, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: Tonight, after weeks on edge, could there be a break in the D.C. sniper case? Tonight, a stunning development from the scene of last night's shooting. Is there a message from the shooter from himself?
As the most recent victim still fights for his life in a Virginia hospital, the man hunt continues. Tonight, we go to the Virginia crime scene for a bird's eye view inside that wooded area where the shooter may have taken aim.
In Washington, covering the story for "TIME" magazine, senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf. From Denver, Stuart Meyers, former sniper with the Montgomery County police SWAT team.
Also with us, in Boston, criminologist Jack Levin. From New York, forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner, who actually interviewed spree killers. And covering this story for WTOP radio in Washington, Mitchell Miller, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. Stunning developments in the Washington area. Right now, let's take a listen to what Chief Moose had to say.
But first of all, let me go to you. In your expertise, what you have heard so far, what do you make of what Moose had to say regarding an actual note possibly from the shooter?
MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, SR. CORRESP. TIME MAGAZINE: I see a flashing yellow light, Nancy. This is caution, caution. It could have been someone other than the shooter, somebody posing as the shooter, leaving a message, for instance. The police have been inundated with phony calls in recent days and weeks. People claiming to be the sniper only to be tracked down and found out to be fakes. One person was even arrested last week.
GRACE: But in order to pull this off, that would have to be incredible timing to leave a phony message there at the scene, allegedly left there at the scene by the shooter.
WEISSKOPF: We don't know the timing of it, though. We don't know if the guy called a few minutes after it hit the news.
GRACE: Mitchell, you were actually there at the scene. What's your take on this recent development that could actually be a message? MITCHELL MILLER, WTOP RADIO: Well, certainly as an extraordinary development, I mean, clearly if it did come from the sniper, this would be a huge break in the case possibly. However, as Michael pointed out, there is a need for caution here because there are a lot of subtexts related to what the chief was saying. The chief actually said "to the person who left us a message at the Ponderosa last night, you gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number your provided."
So there are a lot of things that could happening there. We could have a lot of different messages being given by different people, but...
MILLER: ...when we were there, though, what we found were there were a lot of people right in that area looking to see exactly what was being said.
GRACE: Which adds credence to your theory right now. Let's hear it from Moose himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY CO. MD. POLICE: To the person who left a message at the Ponderosa last night, you gave us a telephone number. We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: You know, that quick statement by Chief Moose has created a lot of controversy, a lot of confusion amongst the media. But Jack Levin, Moose seems to be talking directly to the shooter. It seems as if the shooter understands perfectly well what Moose is saying.
JACK LEVIN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, you know, one possibility is that the number is not the killer's number, but the chief's number, or maybe the tip line number. It's just...
GRACE: Hold on, hold on, Jack.
GRACE: I think I know it's not the killer's number, all right? I don't think he left, "Hey call me at my mom's at 7:00 p.m. tonight, OK?"
LEVIN: Well, you know, Nancy, it's -- I know what you're saying. But there are plenty of people out there who think that this killer wants to turn himself in. That's just not going to happen.
GRACE: I agree.
LEVIN: I -- you know, I think he's taunting the police with this. Now I hate to be pessimistic because I think maybe this could lead a break in the case. But this is not a break in the case. In fact, it may be just the opposite.
This killer has played a cat and mouse game all along. And for a while, he was getting careless. He was cutting corners. He was taking unnecessary risks. He was leaving clues that might have led to his apprehension.
And then, look what he did. He travels an hour and a half. He -- it's within commuting distance, but it's nowhere near...
GRACE: Well hold on, Jack.
LEVIN: ...the place in Washington, D.C. that -- where the police are concentrated. So you know, unlike like other serial killers, he is taking fewer chances. He's taking less of a risk now. And maybe this is his way of taunting the police, playing this cat and mouse game, feeling powerful without taking any more risks.
GRACE: But Michael, you and I were just discussing that to the extent that this is just beyond the range of the particular aircraft employed by the federal government...
GRACE: ...to try and catch him. So to me, it sounds as if he's planning even more intricately?
WEISSKOPF: One would assume so, but we got to back for a second.
WEISSKOPF: We don't know it was the potentially the sniper who called. It may have been somebody who was calling Moose and saying...
GRACE: Why do you keep saying call? Why call? Why can't it be a written message?
WEISSKOPF: Left a message.
WEISSKOPF: Could have been a message. Could have been either way. It's a little bit chancier, of course, with a message. That way somebody -- you run the risk of somebody identifying you. So you had to come in and leave a note.
Somebody may have seen you drop the note. So let's assume for a minute, let's go back to fundamentals here. It may well have been somebody who claims to have seen a shooter, an eyewitness said let us know -- let -- you know call me. I'm afraid.
WEISSKOPF: I'm worried that this may be, in fact, terrorists. There may be more people out there. I'm afraid to be identified. Call me at this number at a certain time. Or here's a number where I can be reached a certain time. GRACE: Well, I know that's a theory. Let me go to you, Michael Welner. He's got a point, but I find it difficult to believe that someone would be so afraid to speak to police, they go through this incredible ruse to contact them through an unknown phone number.
Michael, if this message, if this phone number was left by the shooter, what does it mean?
MICHAEL WELNER, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it makes sense to me if we operate on the presumption for this discussion that this note comes from him, and that it's intended for police.
Criminals who communicate, communicate to people that they want to be recognized by. This is a crime of notoriety. Were he to be communicating with the press, it would be his priority to be recognized by the press. This may be an example, just like "dear policeman, I am God" of his attempting to be recognized and respected by police. And I think that's reflected in the way Chief Moose addressed this person.
He addressed him soberly, respectfully, with some restraint, much the way you would speak almost professional to a person that you wanted to be cautious and restrained, but certainly not dismissive of.
So it's not just the message, but also the way in which it was delivered. It's reminiscent of how we sometimes deal with patients. And I wouldn't at all be surprised if the chief has been advised about how to communicate with someone who may be trying to impress law enforcement.
Again, this was a spree crime until he rested. And when someone who has gone on a crime spree rests, they have to take stock of what they do next. You and I were talking here on Friday about what comes next. So why is he still killing? And that may have everything to do with why a message was left.
GRACE: But Stewart Meyers, it seems to me that of course Chief Moose is going to be somewhat respectful to the killer over the media, over the airwaves. Why would you disrespect him over the airwaves and dash all possibility of a dialogue?
STUART MEYERS, FMR. POLICE SNIPER: Well, I tell you, I can't give you a definitive answer, but I can definitely give you a distinct possibility of what this message is.
MEYERS: This person's been called a sniper. He's not a true sniper, he is a killer who in his own mind is playing a game. The last two shots that have been taken have occurred at approximately 30 yards and 33 yards respectively with a weapons system that is capable of precision fire out to 200 to 300 yards.
In comparison, I could take you out to the range, put you up five yards from your target, ask you to take a body shot with a handgun, and you'd be able to make it, requiring the same skill level that he's exhibiting.
My guess is that he is exhibiting some boredom. And what he's doing is he's left a note or left a cell phone by which the police can contact him, or he can contact the police. He has not contacted the police yet, so Chief Moose is getting on the air to allow him the opportunity to know that they are standing by waiting for his call, waiting for his message in an attempt to set up some type of dialogue and some type of communication that this killer right now was bored, wants to up the ante and up the stakes from his mental game.
Stuart, that's a heck of a note to tell me that a serial killer could be bored. That leaves me wondering what is he going to do to top himself? Everyone later on tonight, we are going into that wooded area where the shooter allegedly took aim. Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. Stunning developments in the D.C. sniper case. Did the sniper actually leave yet another missive for police?
Joining us now at the crime scene, CNN's national correspondent Gary Tuchman is joining us. Hi, Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nancy, hello to you.
GRACE: Gary, you have actually managed to get back into the wooded area, just 25 hours ago, it was a crime scene. How did you get in?
TUCHMAN: Well, police -- basically they said they've done all their work in this area and they've opened it up. So that's why we're here right now, to get a vantage point of what we think happened last night about 25 hours ago.
And this is a case where authorities haven't given us much information, but they have told us they believe the gunshot came from this specific area in the woods. And we're right behind the Ponderosa restaurant.
We want to give you a look at what this gunman or people who are here saw as they walked up the embankment here in the woods behind the restaurant. You can see the dirt here. There is a path. It's thickly settled woods, but there is a path right here. And this person could have walked up, right when we're standing right now.
The Ponderosa, that white building you see right there, it's very dark out right now, but there are some lights in the parking lot. Therefore, the person here in the woods gets a perfect view of this parking lot. And this parking lot is exactly where this 37-year old man and his wife parked their car. They came out shortly after 8:00 after dinner. They would have seen nothing in the woods. They would've had no reason to look in the woods. They just came out of the restaurant. They were traveling through Virginia, ready to continue their trip after getting food and gas. And this, we believe, according to police, is where the person who was here fired the gun. And we do want to give you a look, Nancy, back here inside the woods. You can see where they actually did some of their work. There are still police crime tapes that are up here. There were scores of people who are inside here, meticulously looking through the ground, looking for any clues whatsoever, dogs, searchlights throughout the night and early this morning.
And they did find, we have been told, they did find some evidence that evidence is now being evaluated in the lab. So this is where they believe the gunman or the people, because we still don't know if it's one or two people or even more, but they believe this is where the shot was fired from right where we're standing.
GRACE: Well, Gary, it's not that far-fetched to think that in addition to alleged phone number that was left, that there could have been evidence there in the wooded area, as well similar to when the tarot card was left in the wooded area?
TUCHMAN: Well, that's one thing we're thinking as we're standing here. It's just human. I mean, they checked this area for 16 hours, but we're walking around. We've just heard like you have about this message. And we don't know if it's a phone call. We don't know if it's a written message.
But one can assume there's a possibility. A written message was found here in the woods where we're standing. So we're looking around and maybe -- I mean, the message could've been carved in a tree for all we know. So it's a real mystery. And that's one of the things about this case. They don't want to tell us very much. And that's what's happening.
GRACE: Well, Gary, what's the theory? That he got back there in the wooded area, where you are currently standing, that he took aim, waited for a victim, took a shot and then got back into the van there in the parking lot and took off, while everyone's attention was focused on the victim's?
TUCHMAN: No, and here's what we think happened.
TUCHMAN: If you walk -- if you run like here's what would happen. There's a path here. And there's plenty of room where I can actually run very fast.
TUCHMAN: And I almost pulled my cameraman. I wanted to give you an idea it's easy to run fast here. In 45 seconds, I would be to the end of this two acre area. And there is a dirt road, 45 seconds away from here, a dirt road right down this -- it's a road that's under construction right now. No one uses the road, because it's being built, but it's possible, we don't know this, but it's possible a vehicle could have been on that dirt road, and it could've been the getaway vehicle for the person or persons who was here. But also, the person could've just run away. One thing we know, they blocked 54, which is the main road on the other side of Ponderosa. They blocked portions of Interstate 95, which is a quarter mile away from here. It doesn't appear the person responsible for this was anywhere near those roads. They were back near the dirt road.
GRACE: And was the dirt road blocked?
TUCHMAN: The dirt road is not blocked. I mean, there's actually a little rope up there, but it'd be very easy to get past that rope. The dirt road, you have to drive over the dirt road. And when we were back there, actually, we saw some paw tracks. We also saw some tire tracks and some footprints. And the paw tracks and footprints are probably from the police who are back there doing their work, but it would be very easy to drive over the dirt road, drive over some grass. And then there's some paved road near a shopping center that's being built right now.
GRACE: Gary -- initial question for Gary?
MILLER: Gary, I was back there earlier today. And I was struck by the fact that how open that area is. As I was going through the woods like you were, as you indicated, you can get there fairly quickly, but also with that little road that's back there, as you mentioned, it's not far from route 1, which parallels 95. And it seems there are a lot of avenues, if you will, to get away rather quickly, no matter how quickly the police move in.
TUCHMAN: Right. And there's no question you would get a head start by darting through these dark woods, but absolutely I'm sure nobody was checking in the initial moments after this happened at 8:00. They were very busy on the main roads on route 54. So this person or persons got a big head start.
GRACE: Hey, Gary, could you show me that shot again into the Ponderosa parking lot? Because under this scenario, the shooter is there in the dark, even if someone had looked back toward the woods, they being standing in the floodlights, they wouldn't have seen him.
OK, there we go. Thanks, Gary, keep it going. Everybody, we are looking at...
TUCHMAN: Yes, we're going to give you...
GRACE: ...go ahead, Gary.
TUCHMAN: There's no way that you'd be able to see someone standing here. We have some lights with us. So you can see the shot, but there's no way that someone standing in dark clothes, standing here, that you would've been able to see them.
And we don't even know if the person was this close. The person could've been farther back in the woods when the shot was fired. But...
GRACE: How far away is that?
TUCHMAN: ...if you're coming out of that restaurant, think...
GRACE: How far away are you? How many yards?
TUCHMAN: Well, where we think the car was, maybe about 30 or 40 yards, 100, 120 feet away. That's what police sources are telling us is the amount of the -- is the distance of the shot.
But think about it, if you were in that restaurant coming out, you wouldn't be looking in the woods behind that. You'd be going to your car, talking about your trip that you still have to make, talking about the T-bone steak you had inside the Ponderosa. And you wouldn't be looking in the woods. So that's what's so scary about this is that this person had a free shot.
GRACE: Gary, we are looking right now at a shot. We think there's a dumpster right behind that fence. Where was the victim parked in relation to that dumpster we're looking at right now?
TUCHMAN: Well, that's one of the things that's not being told to us specifically by police, believe it or not, because they wouldn't allow us back there last night when they were actually cleaning the scene.
We can tell you, though, they have told us that this section of the parking lot, the parking lot goes from here all the way to the other end. And we're told it's either in these spots right here or on the other side of that dumpster.
But if you're facing the restaurant, it would've been to the right of the restaurant where the crime scene occurred. So it's somewhere in this general vicinity where this 37-year old man was shot.
GRACE: Gary Tuchman, can you stay with us?
TUCHMAN: Be delighted to, Nancy.
GRACE: Great. Everyone, Gary Tuchman is there at the scene of the crime last night. He's taking us back into the wooded area where we think the sniper took aim and unloaded, gunning down a 37-year old man, who just happened to be traveling through with his wife.
And as you see from the shot, Gary just showed you it was like shooting a fish in a barrel. Stay with us.
GRACE: The nation was shocked when a 13-year old school boy landed in the hospital. He remains there now, recovering from a sniper's shot. Tonight, he is joined in yet another hospital by a 37- year old man, who was gunned down last night in a steak house parking lot.
Let's go to the crime scene. Standing by there, CNN's national correspondent Gary Tuchman.
Gary, I've got to tell you I'm fascinated by what you're showing where the sniper actually took aim and shot. And what's incredible is, he probably didn't take as you are suggesting, the obvious method of getting out through the parking lot, but instead creeping back through the woods.
Now how far did you say it was from the parking lot edge to that dirt road you think may have been the getaway path?
TUCHMAN: We ran it before, I would say it took 30 to 45 seconds to run from where we were standing to the dirt road where he could have had a vehicle.
GRACE: You know, Gary, the police have been taking a lot of kicks in the teeth about how they were conducting this investigation. There's no way they could have predicted this back way out, this dirt road, which apparently did not lead to 95 or any of the other usual suspect interstates?
TUCHMAN: It's possible you could take this dirt road and eventually end up on Interstate 95 or U.S. route 1. But you would've been going in a different direction. They might have expected.
They really -- what happened when we got here, they were pulling over white vans and white trucks with ladders on the back of them, because initial police reports were look for a white van. Well everyone assumed they saw a white van leaving the scene.
Well indeed they did, because there are lots of white vans in the United States of America. So they were pulling them over. They actually took people out of their cars. And in one case, they handcuffed somebody. They did it all as precaution. None of these people were arrested.
And as it turned out, this person apparently just go away through the woods.
GRACE: Gary, I know that when the tarot card was left behind, there was also grass matted down. And you could basically tell where the sniper had laid in the grace, military style, and taken a shot. Is the word that this crime scene is the same as then?
TUCHMAN: Nancy, I apologize. We have some static -- a combination of static and a helicopter flying above us right now, actually looking over the scene, which surprises us...
TUCHMAN: ...because we haven't seen for several hours. So I couldn't hear your question. Can you repeat it?
GRACE: You said that the police were there looking through the wooded area, was grass or foliage ruined where he laid and took a shot? Was he up in a tree? What's the word? TUCHMAN: It's hard to tell. We're not getting a word from authorities. And by our naked eye, looking through here during the daylight hours, when we first got here, there's no way to tell. There's a lot of garbage in these woods. These are not woods that are used a lot, you can tell.
So it's hard to get an idea if any vegetation was damaged or any trees were damaged when this man perhaps climbed a tree. So we don't know what the authorities found out while they were searching here, but there were a lot of them here. We saw them last night. We saw them before dawn. And we saw them up until 12:00 noon today. And then they opened up the area. So they got what they needed, including possibly the message that we've heard about.
WEISSKOPF: Gary, question. It's Michael Weisskopf. Returning again to fundamentals, all we knew up until now was the white van and the shell casing. Was there any evidence again of -- did anyone see a white van again? Have police recovered any kind of shell casing?
TUCHMAN: No sighting whatsoever of this man or these men, no sighting whatsoever of a vehicle. But we have been told that some type of evidence was found and has been sent to the lab.
And one thing to keep in mind, another very important piece of evidence, the bullet itself. The bullet is still in the body of the 37-year old man. He is undergoing a second surgery. It's possible during that second surgery they'll be able to take that bullet out. And that would be a critical piece of evidence, obviously.
MILLER: One of the things that strikes me is again, there are so many parallels with this shooting and the others, but yet there are no eye witnesses. I mean in this case, we talked with some other reporters. And we talked to a 17-year old today who was at the Wendy's parking lot right next door.
He heard the gunshot and quickly turned, but because of those wooded -- the wooded area where Gary is, of course, couldn't see exactly where it came from. Then he said he looked over, saw the body slumped over in the parking lot. He said by the time he and his friends knew what had happened, the police were already there.
But yet, nobody actually saw the gun being fired.
GRACE: Incredibly quick response. And Gary, I'm guessing that after so many reports of eye witnesses, partial, licensed tag numbers, continued reports of the getaway vehicle, this time the shooter was taking no chances.
Gary, I'm going to have to let you go, but as you sign off, could you take me back through those trees again, back into that foliage? Is that possible so the viewers can see it again?
TUCHMAN: Yes, we'll take one more look at it. Let's take a look... GRACE: Thanks.
TUCHMAN: ...down, back into the woods back there. And you can see, there are some lights inside there right now. Those are our lights we put in there so you can get a look at what it looks like, but it's very dark inside here. And it at 8:00 last night Eastern time when this happened, it was pitch black.
So the person who was in here, particularly if he or they were in dark clothes, there's no chance that anyone who was inside that restaurant coming out would have seen them, unless they made some noise. And you can be sure these people or person who are quite diabolical to ever do something like this would've been completely silent when they committed such a terrible act.
GRACE: Everyone, you are seeing the spot where allegedly last night the sniper struck, again, gunning down a 37-year old unarmed traveler, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Gary Tuchman, thank you. Everyone, stay with us.
GRACE: Let me go right now out to Stuart Meyers, a former sniper with Montgomery County.
Stuart, you have just hears and seen about last night and where the shot came from exactly. What's your take on that?
MEYERS: Well, I tell you, as president of Operational Pax Incorporated, I manage an organization that trains law enforcement and military professionals around the world. We cover S.W.A.T. operations, everything from Tactical Command to police sniper training.
It is just not that difficult for somebody to secrete himself in the woods, make a very close proximity shot, and then disappear back in the woods, and drive away from the scene.
GRACE: But this is many, many yards. Why do you say close proximity?
MEYERS: Thirty to 33 yards is not very close proximity. I mean, is very close proximity.
MEYERS: That's not many, many yards. The shot last night that was taken was approximately 30 to 33 yards. Like I said with the weapon system capable of firing precision fire out to distances greater than 200 yards.
GRACE: So you're saying these so-called sharpshooter isn't so sharp?
MEYERS: Well, he's proficient with the weapon system that he's using. The shots that he's taking are just not that difficult. I mean, he's obviously hitting his target. And the round that he's using is a deadly and devastating round.
I said what makes this person dangerous is not his marksmanship skills. His marksmanship skill is average. What makes him dangerous is his commitment and his dedication to killing. That's what is of the greatest concern. And that's why I believe some form of communication, hopefully through the message that was left last night, will be open from police, in order to find out what this person's concerns are, and be able to address them.
GRACE: Jack Levin, many people are speculating this is some sort of game the killer is playing. But in my mind, especially after Gary Tuchman showed us the scene and the lighting circumstances, where the killer just lay waiting in the dark for someone to walk through a lighted area, it's like shooting a fish in a barrel. What's the game?
LEVIN: Well, you know, the game has a lot of different components. Part of it is playing God with the life of the victim, deciding who's going to live and who's going to die.
But you know, most serial killers enjoy the physical contact. They use their hands. They squeeze the last breath of life from their victim's body. And they do all kinds of unspeakable things. And they exalt in their victim's suffering.
In this case, the killer has chosen to distance himself from the victim. He feels a sense of power and control and dominance, but he also gets that feeling by playing this cat and mouse game with the police, leaving these clues, taking these risks, taunting the police. And in addition, he gets in the media. He's a big shot celebrity.
You know, before he went on this killing spree, he may have been -- led an obscure life of failure, one after another over a long period of time. But when he's killing, he's in the media everyday. He's on the 11:00 news. He's on the cover of "People" magazine. Even if it's anonymously, he feels a rush. He gets high on this, the way that drug addicts get high on a drug.
And like a drug addict, he needs larger and larger doses of thrill in order to maintain that high.
GRACE: You know, Michael Welner, you and I were talking Friday night. And we had to admit that unfortunately, the only way police could get any further is if there were another shooting or another attempted shooting. Well, there's been another incident. And it seems to me that we're no closer to learning the identity of the shooter than we were last week.
WELNER: I'm not so sure. I think remembering Friday night, people who sink to the point of carrying out these kinds of repeated attacks are also at a point where if they do live, if they do go on, it's possible that they'll break the law again. And forensic evidence is accumulated with so much scrutiny such as has been in this case that eventually the case gets solved. That's a best case scenario. In my judgment, in my professional opinion, and based on my own personal contact with people who had that fantasy of notoriety, don't presume that they're so connected to the press. They're very self absorbed, and they do want notoriety, but as I listen to what you're sniper expert says, and also Professor Levin, he wants us to think that he's a marksman. He wants to think he's a marksman. And I think that has everything to do with his choosing the police to communicate with, because the police and law enforcement agencies, perhaps at a different time, might be impressed...
GRACE: Are mark...
WELNER: ...with a person's marksmanship.
GRACE: Michael, it seems to me that he's a lot smarter than we're actually given him credit for, because we keep saying he's not a marksman, he's not a marksman. Okay, fine, he's not a marksman, but he had the sense to outsmart the military on this. They've got all the police in these various counties, the FBI, the military, RC-7 military planes flying overhead. And he managed to get just outside of their radar?
WEISSKOPF: This is easily the most frustrating piece of it and the scariest. Because this guy, up to now, has been the Beltway killer. And he could soon become the interstate killer, just move from town to town.
But peeling back for a second, your profilers and experts have been sort of piling the assumption upon assumption that this is some kind of a deranged or angry man, who's trying to get back at society.
Let's assume for instance another profiler's assumption, which is that these could be a band of terrorists. And what we're seeing now, including in today's event, is more a guerrilla kind of action than the action than the sniper action. It's moving a step ahead of your pursuer.
It may not be a game. It might be the larger goal here is to terrorize the society.
GRACE: But if it's not a game, let me to go you on this, Jack Levin, if it's not a game, then why the tarot card? Why the note?
LEVIN: Nancy, you've got a very good point.
GRACE: And why the obvious taunting of police? Police say oh the schools are safe. Next day, he shoots at a school, 13-year old boy still in the hospital. He shoots right in front of a police station. Police say he doesn't shoot on the weekend. What does he do?
LEVIN: Right. GRACE: He shoots on the weekend. It's obvious taunting. Now I find it difficult...
GRACE: ...to believe that al Qaeda or terrorists would engage in taunting the police?
LEVIN: You're right. Not only that, I don't think that al Qaeda would give out its number, its phone number and want to communicate with the police on an individual level.
No, no, this is -- I mean the more I hear about this, the less I think this is organized terror. You know, I -- you know, the FBI collects data on terrorism. And from 1980 through 1999, there were 547 acts of terrorism in this country, two-thirds of which were committed by Americans, they're homegrown, and they didn't belong to al Qaeda. They didn't belong to any of these international organized hate groups.
And I think this is an example of somebody who hates Americans, hates humanity, wants to get even with society at large. He's been a failure for a long time, but he doesn't want to take it out on his wife. He is not interested in getting even with his boss. He wants to seek sweet revenge because he feels he's an victim of injustice.
GRACE: Jack Levin, how many serial killers actually go home to a wife and a family and a dog and a white picket fence? Okay, you're stretching even my vivid imagination with the wife mention.
WELNER: You know, Nancy?
WELNER: Statistics have their limit. And we can look back at a previous time before 9/11. And we have to think outside the paradigm. The fact is someone who carries out a crime against random victims, and this is an assumption. This based on study of people that has been documented. And that's how we do it in the scientific disciplines.
People who don't choose a family or a work place, but -- or erase, but choose a random society either are so alienated that they could kill anyone without reservation or conscience, or they hate America.
And I agree with Professor Levin, but for different reasons. If this were someone who was al Qaeda, which is certainly possible because al Qaeda is very unincorporated, and there are lone wolves who have allegiance to the anti-American element in this country, they wouldn't be communicating with the police. They would be communicating with symbols of the United States.
GRACE: Excellent point. Everybody, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF FREDERIC PLEASANTS, JR., ASHLAND, VA POLICE DEPT.: She stated that her husband, they were walking together. She heard a sound, but didn't think or didn't relate it to a gunshot. Her husband took about three steps and then began to collapse in the parking lot.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
As we speak, a 37-year old victim is fighting for his life in a Virginia hospital. The latest in what many claim to be a victim of the Washington sniper.
Now while this has not officially been linked to the D.C. sniper, that is a presumption as it stands now, based mostly on the MO, the modus operandi of the shooting of the 37-year old man.
Jack Levin, back to you. You left me on the note suggesting that this guy goes out, does a killing, then goes home to a normal life. You even mentioned a wife, just to throw me out of my seat here.
Now let's think about it. You've got Kaczynski. He lived in a hut, OK? You've got McVeigh, a military has been freak. Then you've got Gacy. He lived alone in his mother's house. Wayne Williams lived alone in. Why would you say this guys leads a normal life during the day, and then goes killing in his off time?
LEVIN: Well, you know, Nancy, this sniper kills as a hobby, not as a career. He does it on a part-time basis. And you know, if he were psychotic, he might have gone into a shopping mall with an AK-47 and blown away anything that moved.
You know, there are psychotics who have killed a lot of people, of course. They may think that they're preventing earthquakes, because that's what the voices tell them. And you mentioned the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, who was most likely psychotic. And he did -- he was socially isolated.
But the most serial killers, the prolific ones, the ones who stay on the loose for long periods of time, are methodical. They're hardly psychotic. They're sociopaths. They're people without a conscience. And they can kill for fun because they have no internal controls to stop them from doing what they love to do.
GRACE: Hold on, Jack...
LEVIN: And that is making people suffer. And they, and by the way I have to tell you this, Nancy, that John Wayne Gacy was killing while his wife was living in the same hours.
LEVIN: He buried 29 bodies under the crawl space.
GRACE: In the crawl space, right. LEVIN: There was a terrible stench. She had absolutely no idea.
GRACE: Thank you for reminding me of the stench from John Wayne Gacy's bodies. OK, with that...
LEVIN: My pleasure.
GRACE: ...let me call you with another thing. I'm going to go to you, Michael Welner on this. Jack Levin may have a point regarding leading a somewhat normal outward appearances, of course, life and killing part-time. But this seems to be more than a part-time job to me. Can you imagine the hours of reconnaissance it took...
WELNER: That's right, that's right.
GRACE: ...for him to step back out after last week, scope out a new place just beyond the range of RC-7 military planes, and thwart not only local, but federal agencies again?
WELNER: That's right. I don't see this is an example of his confidence. I see this as an example of him recognizing that if he is going to be destructive, to take no precautions, that anyone might witness him in a parking lot, and to go back to lying in the brush and carefully stalking and waiting, just in case someone is looking out for someone sitting in a van, who might be looking and sizing up a potential target.
His van became the woods, which is much easier for him. The one point that I need to get across to the audience is it may be possible that this gentleman has a psychotic illness and is otherwise especially organized.
I can recall as I'm listening to this discussion an interview with someone who had paranoid schizophrenia, who drove his car around a neighborhood, over a 20 mile distance to five different locations, shooting people, not missing, not shooting wildly, eventually apprehended.
Granted his psychotic illness was largely dormant at the time, but he did have a major diagnosis. He was just able to otherwise organize his activities.
Some of this relates to the mythology of psychiatric illness. We may be dealing with someone who for a long time has fanaticized about being destructive. He fancies himself as a pseudo marksman. And it's almost as if he would go to the bowling alley and go two-thirds of the way down, and use a bigger ball and call it a strike, but in his mind, that's his goal and his priority.
But at the same time, at the core of this is something that is very peculiar. And we will not know until he is either captured or killed.
I'm the forensic psychiatrist. I've spoken to people. I can't answer that question now. GRACE: Stuart Meyers, how do you think as a professional sniper trainer, how did he get the shot off? Was he crouched on the ground? Was he up in a tree? To me it looks as if there are simple targets. Fish in a barrel. There in the light, he's in the dark?
MEYERS: Obviously, there is certain techniques he can use to get more stability, but he could really use any shooting position to -- with this weapon system to engage his target at 30 to 33 yards.
It's a ship shot, and I like Michael's excellent example and analogy of bowling halfway down the alley. That's tantamount to what's going on here.
I think what's also important to remember is the control factor. What we teach in our tactical command programs, and most people to include law enforcement officers fail to realize is that suspects, be it in a hostage barricade situation or be it a spree killer, are in control.
It's not the police that are in control. If the police were in control, all we'd have to do is say give up, come on out. It is the suspects that are in control, the killers that in control, and law enforcement must react and respond to whatever is confronted.
And I think the key is going to end up being finding a way to establish some form of communication.
GRACE: Everyone, we are going to break. As we go to break, the 37-year old victim is facing even more surgery tonight. His stomach torn practically in half. We'll bring you the latest. As of tonight, his name still remains protected. Stay with us.
GRACE: It is here, approximately 25 hours ago that many experts claim the D.C. sniper struck again, wounding a 37-year old man who still is recuperating, fighting for his life in a Virginia hospital.
That bullet tearing through his stomach, pancreas, kidney. Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace in for Larry King tonight. Thank you for being with us.
Michael, the first missive was the tarot. Now we've learned of another possible missive. But back to the tarot, what did that tell us?
WEISSKOPF: Police are still trying to figure that out. One thing we're reporting this week is that they're now analyzing the ink in the handwriting on the tarot card, to see if they can trace to a specific pen.
Once you get a specific pen, you can work through a retail chain if it's a specific enough pen. But it does lead...
GRACE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) writing with a little papermate like this, no good? It's got to be something... WEISSKOPF: It's got to be something a little bit more...
GRACE: ...very unique.
WEISSKOPF: And it could be. This guy could or many people could have some special interests.
However, this -- the tarot card does feed theories of a guy with a sniper background potentially in the military. Interesting connection is during the Vietnam War, some American GIs steeped in the occult left tarot cards, the death card by enemy victims or enemy dead people.
GRACE: You know that's incredibly interesting, Michael, because it goes back to the theory that the shooter is ex-military, military wannabe.
GRACE: He's got sniper capabilities.
GRACE: Do you see that tying in?
WEISSKOPF: Certainly for those going -- with that theory, this certainly fuels it. The other piece is that in sniper schools, you're taught to work in tandem. A spotter and a shooter.
And a couple of the early eyewitnesses said that they saw two people drive away in a white van.
GRACE: I find it very difficult to believe, unless this is a terror plot such as by al Qaeda, that the killer could actually rope somebody in to this loopy theory he's got going, and be the driver for him to shoot innocent people.
But you're right, some of the original witnesses claim they saw two people. You were there. What's your take, especially as it relates to the media. We're basically damned if we do, damned if we don't.
MILLER: We've gone flipside with the tarot card and with this new message now. A few weeks ago, we were saying the tarot card, Chief Moose, was absolutely upset that the information came out. Now tonight, the media are being used as a conduit of course again to get the public information out, and also to get the information out apparently to this shooter.
So it's a very interesting turn of events. I also think it's significant the fact that we've had now more than five days until this latest shooting. We had just been talking about last weekend that there had been no shootings over the weekend. Here is a shooting on the weekend.
And also the fact that the shooting prior was Monday. So we had several days of more planning. So it does appear that there seems to be some kind of additional planning or more scoping out, or perhaps the person is just becoming more careful.
GRACE: I'm just hearing in my ear that CNN is now officially reporting that the chief was communicating directly to the sniper or attempting to, not to a third party, leaving a note, leaving a number that may have been a witness.
CNN is now confirming that as we speak.
Everyone, we are signing off with that breaking news. I'm Nancy Grace for tonight in for Larry King. He'll be back tomorrow night. Stay tuned for Anderson Cooper coming up next with more on the story.
Thank you for being with us. Good night.
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