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Breaking News

Gunman Reportedly Kills Seven in Wakefield Shooting Spree

Aired December 26, 2000 - 1:16 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Again, we have our cameras trained this afternoon on an office complex in Wakefield, Massachusetts. There's been a helicopter hovering over this complex all day. A little about what we're watching, this is an 1800s textile mill that's been converted. It has exposed wood-beam ceilings and fine brick-work. You've probably seen this kind of building in San Francisco or Cannery Row, that kind of thing, only this has been converted into a state-of- the-art office complex. And from their brochure, it says it houses 150 professionals in a unique working environment that combines openness, practicality and New England touch.

That openness was shattered by gunfire not too long ago. We have breaking news information that gives us several victims of this gunfire. We don't know how many or how bad. Local affiliates are reporting several people have been shot and that a suspect is in custody.

We are verifying every bit of information that we get. What we can tell you is that the Middlesex County district attorney's office has scheduled a news conference for any time now to give us the official information of what's going on here in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The converted factory on Foundry Road, known as Harvard Mills, is about 10 miles outside of Boston.

We're continuing to watch that story. Now Daryn Kagan with more.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Lou, and as you were talking, I was getting word that we have videotape that's feeding in right as I speak. This WHGH. We're going to go ahead and listen in.

TOM ROGERS: ... the building over there and we saw people being evacuated. So we figured there was something on, so we went over there, and saw all the ambulances and stuff. And we saw the policemen with their guns drawn, and then went back to our office building. We locked our building up.

QUESTION: Did everybody evacuate from your building?

ROGERS: No, not at all. We just locked it up.

QUESTION: What did you think when you saw police with their guns drawn? ROGERS: Definitely somebody in there. We figured probably somebody that -- maybe a disgruntled employee or...

QUESTION: Did you hear anything?

ROGERS: We heard -- one of the people in the building came out, and he said that he heard noise. He thought it was the heating system, but then he found out that there was gunshots. So he just -- he left the building, you know, abruptly.

QUESTION: And what is your name?

ROGERS: Tom Rogers.

QUESTION: Tom Rogers. OK. And were you in the building also with him?

TAMMY MCMANUS: Yes, I was.

QUESTION: Can you describe for me what you might have heard or what you had seen? What was the scene like when you looked out?

MCMANUS: It was pretty controlled. They had police officers on every corner of the street here with their guns drawn, pointed up at the building. We knew it was down here in this corner of the building. It is all connected, but we knew it was happening down here. That's where all -- all the activity was centered, in this area.

QUESTION: Did you ever feel like you were in danger?

MCMANUS: I was a little nervous, yes. I notified our maintenance manager and had him lock the building, and notify the employees, because there are many exits to that building. So let everybody know to stay in the building for a little while until they got the situation under control.

QUESTION: What did you think when you saw those cops with their guns drawn?

MCMANUS: I was shocked. It's such a quiet area here and I know that that's a professional building. Very, very surprised.

QUESTION: And your name is...

MCMANUS: My name is Tammy McManus.

QUESTION: Tammy McManus (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MCMANUS: M-C-M-A-N-U-S.

QUESTION: Thank you, Tammy.

MCMANUS: Sure.

QUESTION: Appreciate it. KAGAN: ... in live, and those are people who are standing by in the office complex. Those live comments coming to us from WHGH.

I think we have some more witnesses. Let's listen again.

QUESTION: What time did you come to work today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now.

QUESTION: And what did they tell you when you showed up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The policeman said it's a crime scene, and that's it. I can't go to work.

QUESTION: How many employees are there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

QUESTION: Hundreds? A dozen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe around a hundred.

QUESTION: Is it a technology company?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

QUESTION: Have you been inside the church to talk to any people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

QUESTION: Who's inside the church?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just employees.

QUESTION: Are they -- what are they like? Are they shook up or...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, just sitting there.

QUESTION: Thank you.

KAGAN: All right, we're taking it in, folks, as we get it. These live pictures and live comments coming to us from WHGH, one of our affiliates, one of five affiliates that CNN has working the story.

Once again, if you're just joining us, we're covering a shooting situation in Wakefield, which is just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The latest information we're getting is that this shooting took place at the corporate headquarters of a company called Edgewater Technologies. That is an Internet consulting firm. It is based in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

According to our affiliates, we're getting word that as many as seven people might have been killed today when that shooting took place. We're hearing perhaps one person in custody, but also the search going on for any gunman that could still be in the area. We're tracking it. More as we get it -- Lou.

WATERS: Yes. We're narrowing it down a little bit, Daryn. We're also getting a report that the gunman opened fire at the corporate headquarters of Edgewater Technologies, one of the offices in that building complex. It's an Internet consulting firm that's now based in Wakefield, Massachusetts. It was just in the process of relocating from the company's Fayetteville office in Arkansas, which was closed due to an ice storm.

Edgewater Technologies has about 30 to 40 people working there, and we're going to join WHDH reporter Mike Macklin now. He's on the phone with his affiliate, describing more about the shooting that's happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGERS: Our office windows are facing the side of the building over there. We saw people being evacuated. So we figured there was something going on, so we went over there and saw all the ambulances and stuff. And we saw the policemen with their guns drawn, and then went back to our office building. We locked our building up.

QUESTION: Did everybody evacuate from your building?

ROGERS: No, not at all. We just locked it up.

QUESTION: What did you think when you saw police with their guns drawn?

ROGERS: Definitely somebody in there. We figured probably somebody that -- maybe a disgruntled employee or...

QUESTION: Did you hear anything?

ROGERS: We heard -- one of the people in the building came out, and he said that he heard noises. He thought it was the heating system, but then he found out that there was gunshots. So he just -- he left the building, you know, abruptly.

QUESTION: And what is your name?

ROGERS: Tom Rogers.

QUESTION: Tom Rogers. OK. And were you in the building also with him?

TAMMY MCMANUS: Yes, I was.

QUESTION: And can you describe for me what you might have heard or what you had seen? What was the scene like when you looked out?

MCMANUS: It was pretty controlled. They had police officers on every corner of the street here with their guns drawn, pointed up at the building. We knew it was down here in this corner of the building. It is all connected, but we knew it was happening down here. That's where all -- all the activity was centered, in this area.

QUESTION: Did you ever feel like you were in danger?

MCMANUS: I was a little nervous, yes. I notified our maintenance manager and had him lock the building, and notify the employees, because there are many exits to that building. So let everybody know to stay in the building for a little while until they got the situation under control.

QUESTION: What did you think when you saw those cops with their guns drawn?

MCMANUS: I was shocked. It's such a quiet area here and I know that that's a professional building. Very, very surprised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN HALL, WHDH ANCHOR: OK. So a couple of witnesses there who are outside the building. Mike Macklin is still with us on the telephone, and Mike, so far apparently we have not heard from anybody who was inside Edgewater Technologies Company. I know Victoria Block is there working with you right now.

MIKE MACKLIN, WHDH REPORTER: Jonathan, I have not spoken with anybody who was inside the offices and have not received any information to confirm one way or the other whether there may have been anybody inside the offices who witnessed the shooting and survived.

All I know is that there, I'm told, there are about 100 employees. Victoria picked up information from someone who was familiar with the company on scene that there were apparently about 100 employees who worked for the company, but this being the day after Christmas, uncertain as to how many were in the office at the time of the shooting. And the only number that we are hearing, of course, is the number of victims, seven, all fatally shot.

HALL: We understand that some employees have been removed to a nearby church?

MACKLIN: Yes. Employees of the building -- and we're not certain as to whether there -- any of them may have been Edgewater Technologies employees. There are at least two other companies that operate out of this three-story building, and they evacuated the entire building because of their uncertainty as to whether there may have been a second gunman and their concern as to whether there could be additional people wounded.

They wanted to make sure that they could account for everyone who was in the building, and so they evacuated everyone to this church across the street. And at this hour they remain inside.

HALL: What's your location right now, Mike? Are you waiting for this news conference? Is there any activity going that might tell us it's about to begin? MACKLIN: Nothing to indicate it's about to begin. Some top- level state police officials with the Middlesex County district attorney's office just arrived not -- seconds ago and walked inside. So I would think that any news briefing will await them being brought up to speed on what has happened.

The top assistant district attorney, John McEvoy, is here on the scene, no word as to whether the district attorney, Martha Coakley is on her way. But top people in her office are here on scene. And we were told that the first assistant district attorney, John McEvoy, would be giving us a briefing sometime within the hour.

HALL: And the medical examiner, is he on the scene?

MACKLIN: At this point, no word as to whether there is a medical examiner here on the scene. That, of course, would be standard practice before any bodies would be removed from the scene. A medical examiner would be called here. At this point, we don't know. There are literally dozens of officials here on the scene, from local police to state police and investigators from the Middlesex County district attorney's office. So there may, in fact, well be a medical examiner inside at this very hour.

HALL: We're not looking at live pictures right now. We're looking at some taped pictures. Can you describe what's going on in that area for us?

MACKLIN: Jonathan, it's again a three-story brick building. It is a renovated building. The name of the street is Foundry Street. So we would guess that perhaps many years ago it was a foundry that operated here. But it is now called the Harvard Mills Office Complex. It houses a number of companies, including Edgewater Technologies, where the shootings took place. And at this hour, there are basically members of the media here with our cameras set up here on the sidewalk outside the main entrance to the building here.

Other than us, no one is here on the street. It has been shut down to traffic, traffic routed around on another block. And so we're -- at this point, we're the only ones here waiting for investigators, and they are all inside the building, working on matters inside.

HALL: How about the tactical teams? Are they still inside as well, Mike?

MACKLIN: They're still inside as well, Jon, although it appears as though what seems to be the -- the heightened expectations that there may be someone at large have seemed to have been diminished. They have -- some of them we've seen with their body armor off now. They have gone back inside the building, I think perhaps to stay warm as much as anything else. And so far, there does not appear to be a need for them to do anymore searching here on the scene.

But for a good hour or so, there were seen running up and down the street, in the building itself and also to a garage across the street. There is a car in the garage parked across the street, which has been cordoned off with police ribbon. Whether, in fact, that may be the suspect's car, we don't know. The car is parked there with crime-scene ribbon around it and a state police cruiser parked next to it keeping it under a watchful eye.

HALL: Mike, it seems as though these employees who have been transported to the church in that area kept their cool. From the people that we heard talking to Vicky (ph), we don't see any great amount of panic?

MACKLIN: No. And perhaps they, although they work in the building, perhaps it was a case of what they witnessed may have been limited. You'd know better than I in terms of having an opportunity to listen to those interviews. But at this point, it appears as though they were all taken in an orderly way over to that church. I don't know how many people are inside the church at this hour, but they remain sequestered in there talking with investigators.

Mike Macklin, thank you. We've covered about all we can at this point, folks, so we're going to return you to your regularly scheduled program. And as soon as that news conference...

WATERS: OK. We'll bring you back to CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. We're at CNN Center.

Now, you just heard WHDH revealing a number of facts from their reporters, including the fact that seven are dead. We have not at CNN been able to confirm that nor have we been able to confirm that Edgewater Technologies, an Internet consulting firm in Wakefield, was the centerpiece of this shooting a short while ago, in which a number of people were shot. We have that from police. We don't know the nature of those gunshot wounds nor do we know if Edgewater Technologies is indeed -- we're working to confirm if Edgewater is indeed the place where the shooting took place.

We don't want to unduly alarm anyone. However, we do have a separate report from WHDH which indicated that Edgewater Technologies, a software consulting company with about 30 to 40 people located at this Wakefield location, was the center of the shooting.

There are 100 employees in the company, according to WHDH. The company is in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is in the process of moving its headquarters from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Wakefield. We understand a number of people are still in the Fayetteville office of Edgewater Technologies. We don't know how many there are, but we do understand that the Fayetteville office was closed today because of a story we reported earlier, and that is this terrible ice storm in Arkansas, which is virtually bringing everything there to a halt.

But whether or not there are folks still with the Edgewater company in Fayetteville, we're seeking to learn that as well as verifying the other facts that you just heard from WHDH.

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