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Breaking News

Suspect in Custody in Massachusetts Office Shooting

Aired December 26, 2000 - 2:03 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: We are continuing to watch the story revolving around a shooting at an office complex in Wakefield, Massachusetts, which is considered a suburb, north of the Boston -- about 10 miles north of Boston. We are watching a microphone in front of the office building where the shootings happened.

We are expecting a news conference there shortly from the officials in charge of the prosecution investigation: the police officers, who have been at the scene, and others, as they continue to gather information, putting the story together for us. They have been talking to witnesses, several of whom we have been talking with: for instance, a couple of workers in that office building, a couple of workers who were close by when the shooting happened.

Let's hear what they had to say about all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we saw them evacuating the building on the side over there Foundry Street. And we saw the police cars blocking off the street. And we figured something was going on. So we came out. And...

VICTORIA BLOCK, WHDH REPORTER: You said you had windows. You had big windows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, our office windows are facing the side of the building over there. And we saw people being evacuated. So we figured there was something going on. So we went over there and saw all of the ambulances and stuff. And we saw the policemen with their guns drawn. And from there, we went back to our office building. And we locked up our building up. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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. This is where -- all of the activity was centered in this area.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a little bit nervous, yes. I notified our maintenance manager and had him lock the buildings and notify the employees, because there are many exits to that building.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: A couple of workers who work nearby where the shooting took place this morning, verifying what we heard from CNN's Bill Delaney earlier about the efficient police operation here. And we don't know what preceded the shooting. We understand there may have been some report of a gunman before the shooting took place. Yet we cannot verify that, nor the number of injured, the number of dead, or the identity of the suspect in custody, whether or not that person is the person believed responsible for the shootings.

We are expecting to get all of this information in this news conference, which we are expecting momentarily. In the meantime, let's check in once again with one of the five affiliates we are depending on for information and pictures surrounding this story: WHDH in Boston.

BLOCK: ... and police -- you know, it's painstaking work when they have to try figure out a: who the victims are, and they have to figure out exactly where they all fit into something like that. That is part of the investigation, because somebody like this who would walk into a building, he may have opened fire on the first person that he saw. That person may not have worked for the company -- may have come from somewhere else.

And so they really just -- they follow the trail here of evidence, is what they do, in order to put something like this together. So it really takes quite a while to figure out exactly who was involved: all of them innocent victims, some of them from the company, maybe some of them not from the company. And so that is what are we going to start to hear. And we'll probably find that out shortly. And also, you know, the families of people that are coming down here, who know people who work nearby or in this building.

Just because they didn't work at that particular company doesn't mean that they were safe. So, I mean, there is just so much unknown here that a lot of people are really quite frantic about it, and quite disheartened by the whole thing coming especially the day after Christmas.

JONATHAN HALL, WHDH ANCHOR: As we continue our conversation here, Vickie (ph), we'll remind the viewers that we are waiting for John McEvoy, an assistant D.A. in Middlesex County, to come out and give us as much detail as possible. But 7 News has learned seven employees have been shot dead. Apparently, nobody was shot and wounded and survived at the Edgewater Technology company, when a gunman burst in this morning on this, December 26, just a day after Christmas.

Edgewater Technology: located on the first floor of an old mill building, which has been converted into office space, as so many of the old mill buildings in the Boston area have been. The name of the office building is Harvard Mills. And, once again, this is Edgewater Technology. It is a software-development firm in Wakefield, some 20 miles north of Boston on 128. It's a so-called Internet strategy company that helps companies online develop software to run their businesses. Apparently, HomeRuns.com is one such company that uses software from Edgewater.

Victoria Block, you have spoken with some of the people who have walked by the scene. And while they seemed somewhat calm, obviously, they are shaken.

BLOCK: Absolutely. I mean, when something like this happens in your neighborhood, or right next door to where you work or where you live, you know, it just -- you realize that this can happen to you. And these are the kinds of things that happen that, you know, we report on and we see on TV, or we listen to it, you know, and look at that in the newspapers. And you just don't think it's going to happen here, you know, in Wakefield.

It's a small, you know, working-class community, and a lot of people raising families here. There is a big beautiful lake just down the street -- and a big playground. And, you know, you start to think about that: You are just not safe anywhere. And I think that that is the thing that happens with these kinds of shootings. It's not just the day after Christmas. It's another day in our life. And there are seven people who are gone now. And it could have happened to any one of us. And I think people just...

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to go ahead and go from that live tape to a live news conference taking place. Let's go ahead and listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McEvoy speaking first.

JOHN MCEVOY, ASSISTANT D.A., MIDDLESEX COUNTY: Good afternoon. My name is John McEvoy. I'm the first assistant district attorney of Middlesex County.

Shortly after 11:00 a.m. this morning, Wakefield Police Department received numerous 911 calls of a shooting -- of shots being fired at Edgewater Technologies. The Wakefield police responded and surrounded the building. They then entered the front lobby of the building. And they discovered an employee by the name of Michael McDermott, age 42.

Mr. McDermott was heavily armed, with an AK-47, a shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun. Wakefield police were able to subdue Mr. McDermott, wrestle him to the ground, place him in custody and disarm him.

Mr. McDermott has been placed under arrest. He's going to be charged with seven counts of murder. Wakefield police went through the building and discovered seven victims. All of the victims died from gunshots. A thorough search of the building was done by Nemlack (ph). There are no other victims. There are no other shooters. There are seven dead, and one shooter. In terms of Mr. McDermott's arraignment, it'll either be late this afternoon or tomorrow morning at the Maldin District Court. QUESTION: John, can you tell us anything about Mr. McDermott and what his background was?

MCEVOY: Obviously, it's very early in terms of motive. I'm comfortable at this point in saying it's workplace related, but I'm not going to go any more details beyond that until we're sure.

QUESTION: Did the police have physically subdued him or did he give himself up? You said that the Wakefield police did subdue him, but that he was still armed at the time.

MCEVOY: The Wakefield police did subdue him. He was sitting in the lobby when they arrived, heavily armed?

QUESTION: Was he a current or a former?

MCEVOY: He's a current employee. Has been employed since last March, we believe.

QUESTION: Were his targets the top executives in the company...

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on the victims until we can notify the families. We're in the process of doing that now, and I don't want to go beyond that.

QUESTION: Did Mr. McDermott say anything to you?

QUESTION: Were there other people inside of the building?

MCEVOY: No, there were numerous, numerous people inside of the building.

QUESTION: You say he was sitting in the lobby. Did he say anything to you?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on what, if anything, he said.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) seven killed. Anyone injured.

MCEVOY: There were no injuries aside from the seven victims.

QUESTION: Is this at all related to..

MCEVOY: Still working for the company.

QUESTION: What did he do, sir?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that. We're very early on.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate at all on the workplace in the relationships of these motives?

MCEVOY: I'm really not -- I don't think it's appropriate right now until we're sure of our facts? (CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: He didn't attempt fight his way through police. He was just sitting there? He didn't -- he didn't lower one of the weapons at them?

MCEVOY: Again, I'm not going to comment on the particulars of the arrest other than that he was armed and had to be subdued.

QUESTION: Were all of the victims in the same place or were they in different areas of the building?

MCEVOY: They were in different areas.

QUESTION: So he went from office to office, if you will, shooting these people?

MCEVOY: I'm just going to say there's more than one area where the victims were found.

QUESTION: Was he shooting randomly or was he going after specific targets as far as you understand?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that.

QUESTION: Was everything on the first floor?

MCEVOY: Again, I'm not going to comment. I don't think it's right for the families until we can notify them.

QUESTION: How many people were inside working? Dozens? Hundreds?

MCEVOY: Fifty, sixty, maybe seventy people.

QUESTION: How long has he been working for the company?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to get into his background other than we understand he's been working since last March.

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that. That's part of our investigation.

QUESTION: Did he have an expertise in computers?

MCEVOY: Again, I'm not going to comment on that.

QUESTION: How are the other employees?

MCEVOY: Obviously, they're distraught.

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on the identity of the victims until we notify the families.

QUESTION: Were they all shot?

MCEVOY: They all appeared to be shot.

QUESTION: How many men and women?

MCEVOY: Again, I'm not going to comment anything to the identity out of deference to the families until we can notify them.

QUESTION: Can you tell us exactly how we was armed again? Can you just elaborate on what he brought with him?

MCEVOY: He was armed with three weapons, all loaded -- an AK-47, a shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun.

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that.

QUESTION: Any idea how many shots were fired.

MCEVOY: I'm not going comment on the number of shots. We're processing the crime scene right now. We have our ballistics people in there and our chemists in there and that's what we're going to do the rest of the day.

QUESTION: Do you have any idea why?

MCEVOY: I'm not going comment in regards to his motive or his mental state.

QUESTION: Do you know of any previous threats in the building?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that. It's really too early.

QUESTION: Is this at all in relation to 25 people possibly being laid off after the new year?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that other than it's work related.

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on where he's from, but -- again, we're in the process of investigating him and his background.

QUESTION: Was he 43?

MCEVOY: He's 42 years old.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Was he married or single?

MCEVOY: It was a very extensive search. Nemlack went through the building, heavily armed and there is no second shooter. Just one.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate on that? We saw a lot of SWAT team activity. Was that because you were pursuing the possibility there might be a second or third person?

QUESTION: I can defer on that other than to say there were two concerns. One is to get out any employees who may have been in the second and third floor and who were too scared to come out of the building. And secondly make sure there was not a another shooter located in the building. That's why there was such an extensive search.

QUESTION: Was there any indication there may have been a second shooter?

MCEVOY: No.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) ... apprehended?

MCEVOY: No.

QUESTION: Did all of the shootings take place on the first floor?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on the location again until we notify the families. I don't think that it's fair to them.

QUESTION: Did he report to work this morning or did he come in later?

MCEVOY: I know he came to work this morning.

(INAUDIBLE)

MCEVOY: Again, I'm not going to comment on the identity until we notify the families.

(INAUDIBLE)

QUESTION: Was he upset? Was he angry?

MCEVOY: I'm not going to comment on that. OK, I will -- if we get any more information later in the day, we'll update you. OK? Thanks.

KAGAN: Getting that first update, that was John McEvoy from the Middlesex district attorney's office. Our information on what took place 11 a.m. Eastern in Wakefield, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. According to the Middlesex district attorney's office, around 11 a.m., a current Edgewater Technology employee, a man by the name of Michael McDermott came in loaded with three guns, an AK-47, a shotgun and an semiautomatic handgun, all loaded and started shooting seven people, seven fellow Edgewater Technology employees are now dead. The man is now in custody. Police were able to subdue him and he is -- will be arraigned later today. No comments so far on who the exact seven employees who murdered are. Of course, authorities still trying to get in touch with the family members. A shocking on any day, but the day after Christmas, especially so. Seven people in the same people killed, shot dead in their office workplace the day after Christmas. We will take a break and be back after this. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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