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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Alleged Gunman in Construction Crane in Atlanta

Aired June 21, 2001 - 08:31   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to bring you up to date on a breaking news story we've been following here at CNN in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. An alleged gunman is on top of a construction crane. Police have cleared the area. Police say that they have had contact with him through a note that he dropped they were still trying to read.

A few minutes ago, we were able to see some activity up in the area you're looking at right now, the cab area of this construction crane.

We are joined now by CNN affiliate WSB's Captain Herb Emory, who, I understand, is on the phone.

You've seen the area. I don't know what you've been able to see lately, Herb, but we saw some activity there earlier. What's happening now?

CAPT. HERB EMORY, WSB REPORTER: Right now, we have a lot of Atlanta police officers that are down there on the ground.

We were first on the scene in the WSB helicopter, and Atlanta police asked us to leave, and then the DeKalb Peachtree Airport, which controls that airspace, asked us to back off even further. We backed off voluntarily when we heard the rumor he might have a .30/06 rifle with him.

The only thing we could see is he's crouched between the control booth of one of the three cranes being used in this construction process and what looks like a power box used to send power to that booth. He was fumbling around with either some plastic bags or a canvas that had something under it. We couldn't tell what it was. That's all we could see before we were asked to move away from the scene for safety purposes.

MCEDWARDS: Herb, I know Atlanta police have not confirmed yet whether he has a gun, rifle or otherwise. Were you able to see any kind of weaponry there?

EMORY: We zoomed as close as we could in on the individual, and we just couldn't get close enough to see any sign of a gun. We could just see him working with something, as I said, either under a tarp or in some plastic bags in that control panel area, no sign of a weapon from our vantage point. MCEDWARDS: Any suggestion from police, at this point, that shots have been fired -- anything like that?

EMORY: We have heard that no shots have been fired -- simply that the worker who, apparently, normally occupies that position in that control booth on that crane showed up for work this morning. He was, apparently, greeted by this individual as on his way up and said you better not come any further. If there was any threat he might shoot the person, the Atlanta police have not relayed that information to us, but somehow they got the idea that he did have a weapon involved in the threat.

MCEDWARDS: What more do you know about this note that police say was, apparently, dropped down to them?

EMORY: What we heard was that it may have been a blank check and maybe didn't even have any note written on it or message on it except simply that it was a blank check that was dropped out of the top of the crane. It floated down across the Piedmont Avenue into the parking lot of McDonald's. Atlanta police officers quickly retrieved the piece of paper, whatever it was. Once again, we heard from an unofficial source that it simply was a blank check. They're hoping that they at least have the name of the individual that they're dealing with in the situation now.

MCEDWARDS: MSB's Captain Herb Emory, thanks so much for bringing us up to date.

Again. that is in an area of Atlanta where there is a lot of construction right now, a lot of development going in, around the transit station in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. It's a heavily-used area. At this time in the morning, of course, rush hour, people at the construction site have been moved out. We understand that traffic has been moving a little bit in the area, but police have it sealed off pretty well.

Again, you see a little bit of movement up there in the cab area. There's no confirmation yet of whether or not the person up there has a gun, but police believe that he might and are responding accordingly.

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