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Interview with John Walsh

Aired October 22, 2002 - 21:00   ET


CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: "Your children are not safe, anywhere at any time."

Everyone knows that all of our citizens are and have been at risk. The person or people have demonstrated a willingness and ability to shoot people of all ages, all races, all genders.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a chilling message from the sniper and another killing this morning just minutes from the sniper's first shooting. What should parents and law enforcement do?

John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" is here for the hour and he's next here on "LARRY KING LIVE."

John Walsh, of course, is also the host of the new daytime syndicated program "The John Walsh Show." Probably the only syndicated show that not only is based in a beautiful studio in New York, but also travels.

In this first segment, though, we're going to call upon Mitchell Miller, who's been covering this story from the get go for WTOP radio, the all-news station in Washington and for CNN. And if John has a question or two from Mitch, we'll take them as well. And then the rest of the way we'll be with John.

All right. What do we got now, Mitch? We got a letter, we got back-and-forth contacts going on between the sniper and enforcement authorities?

MITCHELL MILLER, WTOP REPORTER: Exactly. We've got now the fourth attempt by Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose to make some kind of contact, apparently with the gunman or the messenger who left this message outside of the steakhouse shooting in Richmond.

The latest we have now, and this is just from tonight, the police chief came out and made an extraordinary statement in which he tried to contact the individual involved, saying it's important that we do this without anyone else getting hurt. There was apparently another effort to make contact with this individual, and it was apparently unsuccessful.

Right now, Police Chief Moose is saying that they are trying to get this person in touch with an 800 number possibly, and he said if you feel more comfortable, they could also establish a private post office box. So a lot of things happening just within the last few hours and this all comes right after the statement which was just played, which the police chief of course made another statement that startled a lot of people related to the children that are affected.

KING: What's the story with this $10 million demand?

MILLER: Well, I think that's a real wild card for a lot of people right now. The sniper appears to have made some kind of monetary demand and yet law enforcement officials are indicating that money doesn't really seem to be at the center of all this. So this seems to be a real question mark.

One of the things that Chief Moose said just a little while ago was, "You indicated that this is more -- about more than violence. We are waiting to hear from you." So there are a lot of questions still related to what exactly is motivating this individual or these individuals.

KING: What has Moose said to you, to the news media, other than we get this letter and the basic statements to the press. What has he said regarding this back and forth thing?

MILLER: Well, they're keeping all of that information pretty close to the vest. This back and forth -- The statement tonight actually was one of the more longer statements. Most of them have been very terse, obviously very controlled and clearly they have set out every single word prior to coming out and making a statement.

However, earlier today, the police chief had a rather extensive news conference, really the longest one since the weekend, describing all of the events that have occurred, of course, with this tragic shooting this morning that claimed the life of a bus driver in Aspen Hill. And, of course, this Aspen Hill area of Silver Spring, the area right in the heart of where four people were killed in just two and a half hours when this whole shooting spree started to get under way.

KING: John Walsh, you have a question for Mitch?

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Mitch, of course, every expert says the same thing, It's crucial that police establish some type of dialogue with the shooter and that's been throughout the history of snipers and shooters and serial killers.

But I've heard 50 reporters give different versions of how the letter got into Chief Moose's hand, that it was found at the shooting, after the shooting at the Ponderosa steakhouse, that a phone call was made to the police department over the tipline, saying the letter was left there and they went and retrieved the letter, and then Chief Moose and the task force looked at the letter and decided to analyze it.

Then reporters said a garbled phone call was made at a certain time saying, you know, We want to have some more conversation and of course all the debacle at the pay phone. No one seems to be getting it straight. Was the letter found at the time of the shooting? Was a phone call made and said, I left a letter at the shooting with demands in it? Nobody seems to have gotten it straight. What do you think went on?

MILLER: Well, it is clear that there are a lot of confusing details and part of it is because of the secrecy revolving this communication between authorities and the messenger. It appears that the message was left following Saturday night's shooting, that it was then analyzed and in the process of being analyzed, these questions that came up today about the school warnings came up and this warning in connection with children.

There was also the phone call that you eluded to, which apparently came from the Richmond area into authorities. It wasn't clear exactly how this was made, who made it, but apparently this message was in some way disguised or somehow garbled. So there are a lot of questions related, as you say, to exactly how this note got into the hands of authorities and how it's being followed up on.

I think one of the biggest issues for people in the Washington area right now and in the Richmond area is for parents. Right now, a lot of parents are wondering, Is it safe for me to send my children to school? And of course, we didn't learn the details of the note really until today, related to exactly this type of threat that was apparently made in the note. And I think that's a big concern for a lot of people.

KING: Is it encouraging, Mitch, that they are in contact with each other?

MILLER: I think it is, although I think a lot of people are frankly a little bit stunned, that this shooting, if it does turn out to be ballistics related to the prior sniping shootings, that the fact that you would have a shooting that occurred more than 100 miles away from here over the weekend, and then suddenly have another shooting right in the heart of this area where this killer has struck before.

WALSH: But, Mitch, the simple answer to parents being concerned and if this note is from the sniper, I mean, they haven't absolutely unequivocally proven that this note was from the sniper, he's already shot a 13-year-old boy at a schoolyard. There's your answer, whether it's safe or not for kids to go to school. He's already crossed that line one time.

MILLER: Right. And that's -- obviously that was already in the back of the minds of people when this all came out. But I think a lot of people were wondering, well, why were schools closed in the Richmond area but they were not closed here in the Washington area.

And of course, as you eluded, I mean, there was a 13-year-old boy who was shot just over two weeks ago in Bowie, Maryland. So, clearly we knew there was a clear and present danger for kids around here.

But I think a lot of parents around here wondered, Well, what does this mean now, this note, the information from it mean for my family? And, for example, in Montgomery County, where this occurred, we're now under a Code Blue, which is effectively a lockdown of the schools so that the kids cannot leave in or out of the schools and they're closely guarded by the doorways and also all the other school systems in this area are under tighter restrictions as well.

KING: Mitch, thank you much. We'll be calling on you as usual again, doing a great job.

Mitch Miller of WTOP radio, reporting as well for CNN.

The rest of the hour will be with John Walsh and your phone calls. As we go to break, here's a statement made later in the day by Chief Moose.


MOOSE: In the past several days, you have attempted to communicate with us. We have researched the option you stated, and found that it is not possible electronically to comply in the manner that you requested. However, we remain open and ready to talk to you about the options you have mentioned. It is important that we do this without anyone else getting hurt. Call us at the same number you used before to obtain the 800 number that you have requested.




MOOSE: We recognize the concerns of the community and therefore, are going to provide the exact language in the message that pertains to the threat. It is in the form of a postscript -- "Your children are not safe anywhere, at any time."


KING: John Walsh is our guest the rest of the way, the host of "America's Most Wanted." The show is in its 16th season, and has led to the capture of more than 720 fugitives, and he is the host of the new daytime syndicated program "The John Walsh Show."

And, of course, his young son, Adam, was kidnapped and murdered 22 -- 21 years ago. In the aftermath, he became an anti-crime advocate and a victims' rights advocate.

Tonight we're going to concentrate on the sniper story, and what do you make of this?

WALSH: Well, I think this guy has certainly got law enforcement in the D.C. area totally paralyzed, and he's doing exactly what he wants, and that is feeding his egotistical, narcissistic drive, his psychopathic drive, and he's got everyone terrified, and he is starting to play the games.

KING: Is it one person, do you think? WALSH: I believe it is one person. I absolutely believe it's one person. In the past, we've had cases of two people working together, usually the shooter or the killer, or for example the hillside strangler had the weird cousin who liked to watch him torture women, et cetera.

I think it's one very smart guy, very lucky guy, but he's at the top of his game now because he has been so successful at playing these different law enforcement agencies. You've got seven jurisdictions involved now, you've got many state, local, and federal agencies involved, and now he has allegedly, and no one's been able to verify this, opened this dialogue, and this confusing dialogue which you and I keep asking about. Did he make the call? Did he leave the note when he shot the person coming out of the Ponderosa steakhouse, or did he make the call after the shooting and tell them go back, there's a letter there?

KING: You ask these questions thinking that he didn't?

WALSH: Well, my question is, did he do the shooting and then decide to leave a note and make a call and, say, come back and leave the note here?

KING: We don't know, do we?

WALSH: We don't know. And then he says OK, here's a phone booth that you can contact me at, OK? To me, it's a huge game. Here is a phone booth. Two poor illegal immigrants, the worst day of their life, pull up to the phone booth in a white van and 50 SWAT guys take them down, handcuff them, and put guns in their face, OK? I understand it. Did anybody think that the Zodiac -- Beltway sniper was going to go to that phone booth and establish contact with the police? Of course he wasn't going to do that. I'll bet he was sitting home watching TV, laughing his butt off and saying, Oh, my God, look what I did. I got them to go stake out this phone booth.

KING: You said Zodiac killer...

WALSH: I am sorry...

KING: Was that a slip based on -- do you think he is somewhat like him?

WALSH: I have been looking and looking at all the different serial killers, and I have been doing this for 20 years, and have profiled many serial killers on "America's Most Wanted," and spree killers. Andrew Cunanan, who killed Gianni Versace, we caught the hobo serial killer, Resendez-Ramirez who killed eight people. I've been -- been tracking these guys for years. And I mention the Zodiac killer because when "America's Most Wanted" first started, I started getting letters with these cryptograms on them, which were similar to what the Zodiac killer did when he wrote the "San Francisco Chronicle." He wrote 21 letters to the newspaper in San Francisco and paralyzed that city. They attribute 37 murders to the Zodiac killer. They never caught him. They had one suspect that they cleared eventually. Toward the end of his career, he wrote -- he said, I'm in control, just like this guy said "I am God" on the Tarot card. Very similar.

He also wrote the newspaper and said, Kids are the easiest to kill. I'm going to shoot the tires out of a school bus -- this is public knowledge, it has been in a lot of newspapers, and I'm going to pick a kid off one at a time, and he had the whole city paralyzed and they closed down the schools.

I think there's a lot of parallels here because these -- this guy is controlling the situation like the Zodiac killer did.

KING: But what can the police do? They are at his mercy. He's sniping. You don't know where he's going to be. He could be anywhere tonight -- shooting. He -- the ball game is in his hands.

WALSH: Oh, it is absolutely in his hands, in his narcissistic, egomaniacal, psychotic hands, and trying to establish a dialogue with him is the best thing that you can do, because you have got to hope that you can draw him out...

KING: Better than nothing.

WALSH: Better than nothing. The one thing I question, and I have talked to and had a wonderful interview with Chief Moose last Thursday when Fox did the special, we did the "America's Most Wanted" special.

KING: He hasn't granted any. He did you.

WALSH: He did ours, that night was the only one. It was great, and he let us shoot there, and they insisted that we use their tip line, that we use the 888-324-9800 tip line, not the "America's Most Wanted" tip line, and Thursday night he announced and said if you don't feel comfortable using that tip line, you can -- we have established a post office box, which he re-announced today. That's not a new thing. He said if you're afraid to use the tip line. The thing that bothers me is, for 16 years, we've been using 1-800- CRIMETV. We get two to three thousand calls every week, and we've caught 723 dangerous fugitives in 31 countries. Why -- and we've taken guys off the FBI's 10 most wanted -- because lots of people don't want to call the police. I think the sniper is smart enough that he doesn't want to call a police tip line or call the police because he knows that there's sophisticated tracing and trapping...

KING: Do you think the sniper would call you?

WALSH: I think he would call 1-800-CRIMETV.

KING: For what purpose?

WALSH: Because he knows that we don't trace the calls, he knows that we don't tap the calls. He knows that he can talk, he knows that police don't answer the phone. He knows that sophisticated and trained hotline operators answer the phone, and we've had many criminals call "America's Most Wanted" in open dialogue, and we have had criminals actually call the hotline and say, I'm ready to give up, I'm done running, but I want to arrange the details of my capture. I don't want police to tap this phone call, to break down my door with a SWAT team and kill me.

KING: Do you buy this money extortion thing?

WALSH: No. I just think it is another power trip. These kind of guys don't kill for money. Money is just something that's added in the letter maybe to throw them off or something like this. This is not something...

KING: What is the motive, would you guess? I know you guess.

WALSH: I'm a low life that's never accomplished anything in my life, but now, all of a sudden, I hold the whole area paralyzed in fear.

KING: This is not a successful individual?

WALSH: This is a person who cannot function in society. This is a person who has no self-esteem, who can't get along with anybody in society. I think every psychiatrist and every profiler would agree with that. This is someone who is incredibly narcissistic, who says in everything, including his Tarot cards and his letters, I am beating you at your game, police, you cops, law enforcement, you FBI, you ATF, all you cops, I'm beating you at the game, and you know what, I'm paralyzing the nation's capital of the most powerful country in the world, and I am the top news story. So he is feeding his ego. There's no remorse, there is no regret, there's no conscience, there is no guilt. He is shooting 13-year-old child...

KING: There's no motive? There is just...

WALSH: Power. Power. Ego. Narcissism.

KING: All right. Does he, though -- let's say he's watching -- take offense when you call him what you call him, and does this make him angrier?

WALSH: Who cares? You know what really bothered me? When someone came up with the theory we shouldn't call him a coward, we shouldn't call him -- make him angry or do something like this. The first time -- the first person he shot, who called him a coward? Who called him angry? What stimulated him to do the first shooting? What stimulated him to do the second shooting? When they tried to caw (ph) talk to him, and I heard Chief Moose and the profilers and the different people say, Let's treat him with respect and caring, OK, and let's not make him mad. Did it stop the shootings, Larry? No.

The shootings went on from a 13-year-old boy, to a 72-year-old man, to individual -- men, women, a woman with breast cancer putting her groceries in the store. So, you know what -- and I would say this, if we think for a minute that he's on the same planet we are, that he cares whether we call him a coward or a low life, this is going to change his power trip? He is a coward and a low life.

KING: I am going to ask you about the children's warning when we come back. We'll be taking a lot of calls for John Walsh tonight. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: For the people who live around the nation's capital, everything changed on October 2. Since that day, a killer has struck again and again, 12 attacks in all. And most terrifying of all, there's no knowing when the faceless assassin is going to hit next -- or where. A gas station. A parking lot. A middle school. But each time he attacks, he seems to be getting more brazen, and each time we learn a little more about this murderer.



MOOSE: "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time."

We feel it's important to provide this information to the public. We're not providing the remaining content of the message. It does not communicate to the public. However, to share that, at this point, would be detrimental to an investigation, and it will not be released.


KING: Correct move?

WALSH: Absolutely. Here's the hard fine line. I'm in the media, you're in the media. OK. I release something that law enforcement tells me about a fugitive on "America's Most Wanted." I make a decision -- a stupid decision, and say, I can scoop CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC and CBS and it cost somebody's life. You know what I've done? I've done a horrible disservice.

If they have information that can save a life, there should be a warning, such as a pedophile attempting to molest children or grab children around a school area. The police the right to -- you know, they have an obligation to release that information. But if it will compromise an ongoing investigation, I don't care -- and I've been at that command center, if there's 100 screaming reporters out there saying the public has a right to know -- no, they don't. Let's do what Israel does. Do you think Israel, when they have a bombing in Tel Aviv in a pizza parlor and they know that it is a couple Palestinian terrorists, they know where they are, do you think they call them up and say -- or on their news, all of a sudden it goes, Well, we have the latest state of the art attack helicopters that are going to go into the Gaza Strip in about five hours and get these guys. They don't put that over the air. There are certain thing the public doesn't need to know, and there are certain things they do need to know.

KING: What do you make of the children threat now, having already killed a child?

WALSH: I think you have to take it deadly seriously. I mean, as I made the parallel, the Zodiac killer held San Francisco paralyzed by saying he was going to kill children as they got off of a school bus. This boy -- I went there and interviewed his school mates and met some of the kids -- the kid who was killed at the middle school, and here he is, his grandmother lets him off, out of the car, and he's walking to school and he gets shot in the stomach right in front of the schoolyard. I think you have to take this guy deadly serious, and I will say it again. It wasn't a threat. He did it. He crossed the line. Once you cross that terrible line, once you have the ability to put a child in the sights, in the crosshairs of that gun, and pull that trigger, then you're not a human being anymore.

KING: What would you do if you had a child in the Washington, D.C. area now?

WALSH: I would probably keep that child home. I would hate to say that because...

KING: So he's won?

WALSH: No, he hasn't won, because I'll tell what you what...

KING: It changed your life.

WALSH: It would change my life -- I would do what they do in Northern Ireland and Belfast, which they put up with terrorist attacks and bombings forever, going on with their lives in a different way. I would do what they do in Israel when there is a bombing and two days later...


WALSH: But they do different things. For two or three days, they'll go on a red alert, or blue alert, whatever you want to call it. Whatever name you want to call it, they'll change their lifestyle for two or three days, they'll reassess what's going on, they'll try to let the authorities take a command of things.

Right now, Chief Moose did the right thing by letting the public know that this guy has threatened children. The second thing is that school superintendents in jurisdictions have to assess that threat and say unless they have a fool-proof way of getting those kids into the school, off those buses, or however they're going to do it, then I would say -- I would honestly keep my child home for a couple of days.

KING: If it goes to next week, would you not let them trick-or- treat?

WALSH: I think -- oh, if it goes to next week, forget about trick-or-treating. You're just asking for problems. Why? You could give it up. I remember several years ago when there was a guy loose in Detroit. I think it was about 15 years ago, and he killed two little girls. He was dressed in a costume. What a perfect night for a pedophile to be out. They canceled trick-or-treating for a couple years, and they held the trick-or-treating in malls, which was a great alternative. Each store gave kids candy, people came to the mall, it was controlled. If he's still at large at Halloween, no trick-or- treating. My God, it would be like open season for this guy. So kids can miss one Halloween.

KING: Should the -- should the federal government be in charge of this? Should it be an FBI agent speaking rather than the chief?

WALSH: I think -- right now, I've seen the task force, and I have been there, and I have to say I have never seen, in the 20 years I have been doing it, federal, state, and local agencies working so closely hand in hand as they should.

KING: Well.

WALSH: Well. They're burying the egos, they are doing the right thing, they are sharing information, they are not worried about who is going to get credit for the capture or whatever. I think, right now, they're doing the best they can.

The one thing that bothers me is how are they going to give this guy a vehicle to communicate with them when he is a very smart guy, and knows that they have devices. I would wish to God he would call our hotline because I could guarantee and give him my word that he would -- that call would not be traced, it would not be tapped. He could make all the demands he wanted.

KING: What's the number?

WALSH: 1-800-CRIMETV. If he wanted to surrender, if money is an object and he wants a plane to take him somewhere, negotiations could start. Whatever it is, I don't believe he has remorse, or whatever, but if he is sincere about communicating -- but you know what I think, Larry, he's playing. He is playing now.

KING: Some people have said he's not that good a shot. Is he a good...

WALSH: Let me tell you something. He's 13 for 13. Yes, a Vietnam sniper or a Navy SEAL, or someone that is a professional sniper, he's not on that caliber. Is he a good shot? He's an excellent shot. He's hit 13 people with 13 shots. Three of those people are lucky to be alive. If they weren't young and healthy, and we didn't have good surgeons, they'd probably be dead.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll come back and take your phone calls for John Walsh. Don Imus tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KAREN PUMPHREY, TEACHER, BENJAMIN TASKER MIDDLE SCHOOL: I heard a bang on the front door. I was coming down -- no one else was there, it was before school. So I thought it was a bang on the door. I heard a bang and a scream and I thought one of the kids was playing out front, playing around, and I went out to ask them to move back and when I opened the door, there was no one standing by the door. The boy was by the curb and he was laying down. He was screaming, he was moaning and he said, "I'm shot in the stomach." And I looked. He said, "look at my stomach." I said, You better not be kidding me and he said "I'm not." And when I looked, I didn't see anything. Nothing. There was no indication except the look on his face. I knew that he was hurt but I still didn't believe that he was shot.




MOOSE: Everyone knows that all of our citizens are and have been at risk. The person or people have demonstrated a willingness and ability to shoot people of all ages, all races, all genders and they've struck at different times of the day, different days and at different locations.


KING: Our guest is John Walsh. His new program is the daytime "John Walsh Show."

Let's include your phone calls. Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I have a question for Mr. Walsh. He's already sort of addressed it already, but I'm just curious, what would his view be if there was a total media blackout at this point in time?

WALSH: Total media blackout -- if it compromised the investigation, if it in any way impeded law enforcement from catching this guy or negotiating with this guy, then I would say it's the right thing to do. I've talked to citizens every single day since this sniper started shooting. And they said, You know what we want to know? We want to know that he's caught and we want to know that he's dead, that he's killed when they go to catch him and that he's not around anymore.

But if there's information like Chief Moose said today, I have to let you know that this guy has threatened children, then there has to be that information passed down.

But I believe that most Americans feel just like I do. Don't compromise the investigation. The media and the American public have a right to know and the Canadian public has a right to know, absolutely. But let's see this guy killed and then you can tell us about him later on.

KING: Potomac, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Mr. Walsh. I'm a teaching in Rockville. And I'd like to know how do we talk to our students about everything that's been happening?

WALSH: Well, I think we have to be realistic. I mean, let's look at those examples throughout the rest of the world. Kids in Tel Aviv and in Israel have to go to school every day. They know there are suicide bombers, they see it in the news, they know that they could be the next victim. In Belfast, Northern Ireland kids know kids that have been blown up on buses over there.

We have to tell our children that there are a -- there is a bad person out there doing bad things, that's what every psychiatrist says. Your odds of being one of those victims are very small, but right now we have to be on high alert because this person has to be caught. I think being honest with kids and maybe turning the TV off because there is such a thing as overkill, but being honest with our children and talking to them, I have small children, I have teen-age children. They want to know. They're sophisticated, they watch the news, they watch television. Knowledge is power. Talk to your kids, tell them what's going on. Tell them what we have to be aware of and that we have to do extraordinary things right now because extraordinary things are happening.

KING: Frederick, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Yes. I'd like to know why the police refuse to release the sniper's handwritten note or voice recording they might have to the public so someone may recognize his writing or his voice mannerisms.

WALSH: Well, first of all, I think, No. 1, they're not releasing his voice recording because he has a device that disguises his voice and it would probably throw people off. It would probably give people the false impression, just like cases I've been involved, in where an eyewitness gave a wrong account, for example, 21 years ago when someone said they thought our son was dragged into a blue van and they stopped 10,000 blue vans before that person said, Oh, I really don't know if it was a blue van or not. So it depletes law enforcement resources.

The letter they must hold on to right now because there are parts of that letter that they are analyzing, and I am sure that they are analyzing that letter for any type of forensic evidence whatsoever, any type of saliva, handwriting, whatever they can on that letter and it's important evidence right now.

And I must say I agree with them. When they feel that it's important, then they will release that letter. But right now, it's the only thing they have to try to link them to this killer.

KING: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I'm just wondering what's the chance of this being the Zodiac killer?

WALSH: I don't think the Zodiac killer would come out of retirement after 30 years. Most studies show that criminals, hardcore criminals, ruthless killers like the Zodiac killer, as they get older, they lose their desire to commit crimes. They become not so flagrant and blatant and he may be dead.

I mean, that's an interesting premise. But this person, I think, is -- could not be as old as the Zodiac killer because of several things. This person knows how to get away, must be somewhat agile, is probably a good driver, certainly is a good shot and certainly very knowledgeable of this area. And I think the Zodiac killer would be too old.

KING: The NRA opposes ballistic fingerprinting. Are you in favor of it?

WALSH: I am in favor of ballistic fingerprinting and I'll make a couple of analogies for you.

This would be a manufacturer would fire a gun before you buy the gun, Larry, and they would take a ballistic fingerprint of what -- any kind of bullet that came out of that gun. And it doesn't change. That fingerprint doesn't change until that gun's been fired about 2,000 times.

When you buy a car or motorcycle, you have a VIN number, a little number that's inside the motor. If that car is stolen, you identify it by the VIN number. Now that doesn't mean a gun can't be stolen, a VIN number can be bought from a junkyard and it can be changed, but it would be a good way as a start. It's not going to be the end, the be all. It's not the answer of catching people, but it would be a good start of recording the ownership of guns. It's no big brother society.

You know, the DNA banks, now that the FBI is starting that the ACLU and everybody was opposing years ago and states are starting it. When a convicted felon commits a crime they take his DNA. Well guess what? Two things are happening. It's solving lots of sex crimes throughout the country because the DNA is being exchanged from state to state. And it's freeing innocent people from prison because the DNA is saying, You know what? That DNA is a different guy. So you what? It's a good start. It's not the end all to be all, but it's not a bad thing.

KING: We'll be right back...

WALSH: And I'm a gun owner.

KING: We'll be right back with more of John Walsh after this.


WALSH (voice-over): The sniper's weapon and ammunition. The type of bullet used is a .223 caliber cartridge, a workhorse of the American military, a little bullet that can produce a wound the size of a coffee cup. It's made to kill.

And investigators say the sniper used a type of high-powered assault or hunting rifle like these that with training can go kill from hundreds of yards away.




WALSH (voice-over): The task force of local, state and federal investigator hunting for the killer got its best clues yet when the sniper struck this past Monday, gunning down a woman in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Virginia. Many witnesses in the area said they saw a white van. Police immediately shut down all the major roads near the shooting scene. Traffic was at a stand still for hours while investigators searched for the kind of van described by the witnesses. But somehow the killer slipped away again.


KING: We're taking our next call. We haven't had good witnesses in this.

WALSH: We've had horrible witnesses. And if anybody thinks this guy is not watching the news, they're crazy. And he's not relishing in his -- way past his 15 minutes of fame. And if using a white -- if he's still using a white van, then you're Elvis Presley. I mean, he's smart enough to know that he's got to change vehicles.

KING: We don't have good -- people aren't good...

WALSH: Adults are such terrible witnesses. That 6-year-old girl in Orange County, California that made the composite of who killed Samantha Runnion, her little friend that was dragged away, nailed that guy.

I talked to Chief Moose about it. He says, John, not one witness at that Home Depot was on the same page. Not one of them. And that's why we tried on a special Thursday night to teach people here's what a rifle shot sounds like at 10 yards, 30 yard, 100 yards. Look in this direction. Here's a good way to write information down if you think you've seen a vehicle. Take a guess, look at the person, stay calm, at least remember one or two important things about it.

But you what? Not one of those witnesses at that shooting, not one of them agreed with the other one on anything. And this guy has been so lucky. In 13 shootings, nobody's seen anything.

And I still say it's going to be an individual that's going to crack this case. It's not going to be the police. I wish it would be the police, but it's going to be an individual that's going to finally dawn on them that Uncle Weird Harold that's been collecting guns since World War whatever or that's out there shooting in the backyard everyday and can't talk to people is the guy who did it.

KING: The rewards are pretty high now.

WALSH: Well, I mean the rewards -- oh...

KING: Six hundred...

WALSH: Six hundred thousand dollars. I mean, you know.

KING: No small piece of change.

Roanoke, Virginia -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, John. I'm really close to all this. And as a former flight attendant I just want to know if you guys think this is related to the 9/11.

WALSH: I absolutely think that it has nothing to do with terrorism. I mean, I've been involved with terrorism since 1994, tracking bin Laden since the World Trade Towers were first blown up in 1990 (sic). They make big statements. When they blew up our embassies in Africa...

KING: They're trying to make a statement, John.

WALSH: OK. If this was terrorism related, wouldn't there be a sniper in Los Angeles now? Wouldn't there be one in Chicago? Wouldn't there one be paralyzing, you know, New Orleans or something?

KING: And why wouldn't somebody be taking credit?

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: Niagara Falls, New York -- hello.

May be I ought to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) down. Niagara Falls -- hello.

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering about that French soldier that's missing in North America because he's a marksman. Is he being considered as the sniper?

WALSH: I'm not aware of what you're talking about.

KING: What are you talking about, ma'am?

CALLER: It's on the international press. It's on They're -- a French soldier missing in North American. He's marksman. He's missing in North America.

KING: There's a French marksman missing in North America.

CALLER: It's on Front page.

WALSH: Now you're saying it's a French soldier?

CALLER: Yes. And he's been missing since before September 11 and he came here on vacation and he never came back. He's AWOL.

WALSH: Now, I tell you that's very interesting because the only bizarre thing that seems to be related, the call and the letter, is that the letter is in very poor English, the grammar is very poor.

Now, that doesn't mean it may not be an uneducated person, but in my mind, this sniper's pretty shot -- pretty smart. He's pulled off 13 shootings with thousands and thousands of cops and millions of people looking at him and the phone call was garbled with some sort of accent.

I don't want to lend any credibility to this...

(CROSSTALK) WALSH: And if he's insane and he went AWOL, I think there's something -- that's interesting. I never heard that.

KING: Sparta, New Jersey -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?


CALLER: I was just wondering, I actually have two very short questions. But I was wondering why if we know that this sniper is using the media to get his information, why do we provide him information like for Washington there will be no school buses tomorrow? Why do we tell him that?

WALSH: Well, there's certain types of information that -- I totally agree with you. I mean, I was appalled the day that the media broke the news that the federal government, that Donald Rumsfeld had OK'd for the armed services and the Pentagon to use our satellites to try to track this guy and that they might be using global positioning satellite.

You know what that's like doing? It's like saying, OK, now we think that we've located bin Laden and we're going to send the Green Berets to get him next Tuesday. Why not let him know? Come on. They don't do that in Germany. They don't do it in Israel. They don't do it in England. They don't broadcast every single thing they're doing. I agree with you.

But if it's important information like Chief Moose said tonight, that part of that letter said children should -- can be at risk anywhere, you have to let the community know that. But I absolutely agree with you. And we've been talking about it all night.

Why is it that we seem to be obsessed with the First Amendment? We all believe in it, we believe in freedom of press. I'm in the media. I wouldn't have been able to catch 723 dangerous fugitives if it wasn't for the use of television and Fox allowing me to do this.

But there are certain things -- and I have never compromised law enforcement on one show on "America's Most Wanted" and still was successful. There's certain things we should not be telling people.

KING: Back with our remaining moments with John Walsh. Some more phone calls as well. Don't go away.


WALSH (voice-over): Police are trying to sort through many, many theories. One theory is the sniper carefully chooses his sites near entrance ramps to major highways so he can escape easily. But several shootings, mainly the ones in Maryland, north of Washington, D.C., took place along busy commuter routes at times they were jammed with traffic.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some witnesses report confusion. Did they hear a gun or a car backfiring? To help you become a better witness in case you are on the scene of a shooting, we've simulated what this type of rifle sounds like when fired at different distances. Here's the sound and its echo at 200 yards, at 100 yards, and at 25 yards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This gun is extremely loud. That's the one disadvantage that he has. It's so loud, it's just like a bomb goes off next to people.

KING: We're back with John Walsh. Kenosha, Wisconsin, hello.

CALLER: Hi, John. Hi, Larry. We've heard them question the fact that it's possible maybe there's two people involved. This morning listening to some news briefs, I heard that male drivers were stopped. Why would they not think that it was a female driver and maybe the man was hunkered down in the back seat?

WALSH: That's a good question. There is a possibility. I've profiled a lot of fugitives that have had female accomplices and accessories. They're in love with the guy. I would not rule that out.

Definitely, in my opinion, it is a male. We've only had one female serial killer in the history of the United States, Aileen Wurnos, in Florida, who is on death row there, and says she wants to be executed. But, absolutely, I think they should be broad-minded because I have caught lots of fugitives on "America's Most Wanted" who had female accomplices.

KING: Lake Mills, Iowa -- hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi. I got a question for John Walsh, could he be like a law enforcement officer, or have some law enforcement background, because the vehicle he's getting away in, could that be what it is?

WALSH: I will tell you what...

KING: Could it be a law enforcement...

WALSH: Without a doubt, we have had cops go bad throughout the history of this country. I profiled a guy on "America's Most Wanted" that was an Alaskan homicide investigator that committed a murder in Las Vegas, killed a woman. Haven't been able to catch him for five years he's so damn smart. He was a homicide investigator.

We have a cop in Florida that is on death row in Florida that was a sheriff in Florida that committed 14 homicides before he even became a suspect. He was the guy that was pulling the women over on the side of the road, taking them in remote areas, and killing them. That's a very distinct possibility of it being a cop gone bad.

KING: Going to catch this guy?

WALSH: I think that if he keeps it up, he's going to make a mistake, and he's going to get caught. If he quits, he could wind up like the Zodiac killer and go down in history as we may never know. But the one thing I want to still stress is two things. It's going to be a private citizen. We've got to be better witnesses. We really have to be aware of our surroundings and keep an eye open, and number two, you've got to remember. Call that tipline, but if you're afraid to call the police, because lots of people don't want revenge...

KING: Call yours.

WALSH: Call 1-800-CRIMETV and we guarantee that you can remain anonymous. If you're afraid and you have something, some kind of information, no matter how inconsequential, it could save a life, you can remain anonymous. Make that call.

KING: Last call, Vancouver -- hello.

CALLER: Hi. Can you hear me?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, John.


CALLER: I just want to say, John, I think that what you do is great, and I was just wondering, do you think that the sniper will actually want to be caught alive, or do you think that he will go down in history being killed by the police because he wouldn't want to go to prison?

WALSH: Most of all, I don't think he wants to be caught, and secondly, 99 percent of the really dangerous fugitives that I've profiled, including the Texas seven, who left two letters when they escaped from their prison in Texas and killed this police officer, said we'll never be taken alive, they went down as crying, wimping babies.

Don't hurt me, don't kill me. Very few of these cowards shoot it out with the cops. They just don't have it. You know what? This guy has no guts, and I am not afraid to say it. He's shooting people he doesn't even know. Innocent people. A 13-year-old boy, thank God this boy is alive. He's shooting mothers, he is shooting older people. He's shooting everybody from afar. He's a coward. He's a coward, and you know what? He'll go down like a coward. That is how he will go down, he will go down begging for mercy.

KING: Killing people you don't know is what a serial killer does, right? WALSH: Absolutely. And he is a dangerous one because most of them do it, as every psychiatrist will say, they like to do it up close, they like to hear people beg for their lives, they like to see the torture. That is what turns them on.

What turns this guy on is the God complex, that he can pick anybody he wants, he can kill them from afar, because he's a coward, and he wants to get away with it, and the second thing is, he's smart and he's lucky.

But you know what he's doing? He's getting more than his 15 minutes of fame. He's feeding his narcissism, he's feeding his psychosis, and he really has the nation's capital paralyzed right now, but I swear -- in my heart, I know that an average citizen is going to break this case and this guy is going to go down because people are starting to pay attention and they're realizing one thing -- it can happen to anybody in this area. Anybody could be a victim. We all have to band together and come up with that one tip.

KING: And you, you stay right on top of it, right?

WALSH: We're right in the middle of this case, and I am praying, and I will say it again, and I think the cops are doing a great job. This command center is working day and night. If you don't want to call that tipline, if you're afraid of calling the police, call 1-800- CRIMETV. We do not trace, tap calls, you don't have to leave your name.

KING: Thank you John, as always.

WALSH: Thank you.

KING: John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted," and "The John Walsh Show," daytime.

We'll come back and tell you about tomorrow night on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, the I-man, Don Imus returns to LARRY KING LIVE, which means only one thing: we're going to be in New York, and being in New York means we shall be in the presence of his greatness -- I can't wait to just shake his hand again. Aaron Brown, the host "NEWSNIGHT" is next. Aaron, I will see -- I will see you on the morrow.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: That means we'll be fighting over the temperature in the studio within about 20 hours.

KING: You are not kidding. See you tomorrow, Aaron.


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