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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Five Fatal Shootings Within One-Mile Radius

Aired October 3, 2002 - 11:38   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you on this breaking situation happening in Montgomery County, Maryland. We understand five people have been shot Within 15 Hours. There are people shot at gas stations, at a post office there as well. One man shot on a lawnmower. Now gas stations -- one of the gas stations we believe was a shooting scene was the Shell station in Kensington.
And John Miftry is the owner of that gas station, and he joins us now on the phone. Are you there?

JOHN MIFTRY, CO-OWNER, SHELL STATION: Yes, I'm here.

HARRIS: What can you tell us about what happened there?

MIFTRY: Well, we heard a noise, you know, and we realized that -- thought it was one of power lines was out, and the lady was actually doing the vacuuming. And the other ladies came out, and they said that, you know, there's something wrong with this lady, you know. So we tried to see if she was -- we saw her, we tried to pull her out. She wouldn't pull out. So we had to check the car up and pull her out. By the time the police arrived, they were doing CPR by that time.

HARRIS: So she was actually physically under the car?

MIFTRY: No, no. When somebody shot her, you know, I mean she was like -- her legs were underneath the car and the door was open when she was doing vacuuming. The door was laying on her (ph), you know.

HARRIS: From what you could tell, from what you saw, did it look as though she was trying to crawl under the car to get away, or had she fallen?

MIFTRY: She'd fallen, you know. She'd fallen down. Why the door was open? I don't know how she got, you know, under the car.

HARRIS: Now this location where she was doing the vacuuming, was it near the sidewalk or near the street, or was it back away by the pumps and by the building?

MIFTRY: It was right on the other side of the pumps, you know. The other side, we have a Safeway (ph), I think somebody might have shot her from the Safeway side.

HARRIS: So do you believe -- I know this is very early, and I'm not sure if you knew exactly what was happening at the time, but is it possible that someone was there at the gas station there near the pumps doing the shooting...

MIFTRY: Oh, no, no, no. Nobody was at the gas pumps. No.

HARRIS: OK.

MIFTRY: She was -- if you look at the -- she was on the other side, she was vacuuming from the other side. You cannot -- you know, nobody was on the -- on this side.

HARRIS: Was there anyone else out there with her? Any other customers -- any other customers or anyone?

MIFTRY: No. No. Way she had parked the car, we cannot see anything, you know. She had to park like, you know, on the extreme side of the station.

HARRIS: Was anyone there at the station able to see the vehicle these people -- or this person may have been driving?

MIFTRY: No, no. No, we didn't see anything.

HARRIS: You didn't see anything -- didn't see or hear anything at all?

MIFTRY: No. We thought she had a heart attack or something like that.

HARRIS: Yes. When the...

MIFTRY: I'm sorry, when I was talking to the newspaper and the police, somebody, you know, shot her, and the police, the guns, and the rifles, they start coming here.

HARRIS: It's hard for us to tell by looking at the pictures, but is this the kind of area where this sort of thing happens? Do you...

MIFTRY: Oh, never, never.

HARRIS: You've never seen any kind of crime like this happen in this area?

MIFTRY: No, not in this neighborhood. In Montgomery County, no.

HARRIS: That's remarkable, and we thank you very much for sharing the information that you've got. I assume that after you saw the woman out there, and the paramedics arrived, did you go back inside the store and lock things up or what?

MIFTRY: No, no, no. We didn't know he was -- we didn't know it was a gunshot or what, you know. The police came and just said go inside, go inside.

HARRIS: OK.

MIFTRY: We didn't realize after 15 minutes this was a gunshot or something. HARRIS: Well how does this make you feel having something like this happen at your store?

MIFTRY: I feel shaky, you know. Shaken up.

HARRIS: Shakes you up pretty badly?

MIFTRY: Yes, it did. Yes.

HARRIS: I can imagine so.

MIFTRY: Happen in front of you.

HARRIS: I can imagine. John Miftry, thank you very much.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. Miftry, before you go away, I'm Miss Fredricka Whitfield, I am working with Leon here. How far away do you believe you might be from the Mobil gas station on Aspen Hill Road where another one of the shootings took place?

MIFTRY: I would say roughly about three miles, I believe.

WHITFIELD: OK. Yes, so it's all in that general proximity, and then the lawn mower incident or the man who was mowing his lawn, he was on Rockville Pike. That's only a couple of miles from you, as well?

MIFTRY: Yes, it's also within three miles -- five miles I would say.

HARRIS: Are these straight shot drives from spot to spot, do you know?

WHITFIELD: Well, there are some pretty major arteries. It's easy to get from any of these locations to the other, no problem. It's just one big web of -- arteries right there. It's a fairly -- and you can agree with me or not, Mr. Miftry, it's very residential. At the same time, there are a lot of businesses there, and this is a community in Montgomery County, Maryland, where an awful lot of the nation's federal workers...

MIFTRY: Right.

WHITFIELD: ... work and live, and Montgomery County, Maryland too, while it is very residential, this is a very busy commercial location as well. There is an awful lot of traffic in the area.

HARRIS: Speaking of that, I was going to ask you about that. How was the traffic situation at that hour, Mr. Miftry? About what time did all this happen?

MIFTRY: I didn't hear you.

HARRIS: I am sorry. Mr. Miftry, about what time did all this happen, and what was the traffic like at that time?

MIFTRY: The traffic wasn't that bad, you know.

HARRIS: At what time?

WHITFIELD: Looks like we've lost the connection.

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: There he is. Mr. Miftry, are you still there?

MIFTRY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: OK.

HARRIS: Can you tell us again about what time all of this happened?

MIFTRY: I would say about 9:45, 10:00.

HARRIS: OK, so barely about two hours ago.

MIFTRY: Yes.

HARRIS: So traffic was probably pretty much well underway?

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: ... peak of, I guess, rush hour, but still...

MIFTRY: Traffic's not that much, traffic is more on the other side of the road than this side.

HARRIS: OK.

MIFTRY: OK?

HARRIS: All right. Mr. Miftry, John Miftry, the owner of that Shell station there which was the scene of one of these fatal shootings this morning. We thank you very much for your time, sir, and good luck, and we hope you are able to get over this. We know it has got to be quite a shock to deal with something like that.

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