CNN BREAKING NEWS
Police Detain Woman in Prince George's County
Aired October 9, 2002 - 13:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: That area being searched in the hunt for the sniper is near two schools east of the nation's capital, and as you may have heard, we are getting a late word now of a woman being detained.
CNN's Patty Davis is standing by in the area of Washington, which is close to where police are searching that site -- Patty, what's the latest?
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Actually, it's just probably about 100 yards from me where police just fanned out about 15 to 20 police, armed with shotguns, fanned out into the woods behind me. This is a park area, heavily wooded area in the middle of a housing development behind an elementary school, the Rose Valley Elementary School in Fort Washington, Maryland.
Now, they fanned out -- they got a report earlier today, Prince George's County police said, that they got a report from somebody who called 911, said that they saw a white man described to be wearing a blue jacket, a blue baseball cap, carrying a long black bag heading into the woods back here. He had also -- the witness said, he had also got out of a dark blue car, possibly a Ford, before he headed into the woods.
Now, somebody reported that a man with that description had entered the woods. That person, as I said, called 911. Now, police say nobody else has seen anybody fitting that description.
Now, behind me, you can see a dark blue Ford. This looks like a Ford Contour car. A woman, about 11:00, came driving up an area that had been blocked off by police. Police stopped her. They were questioning her. They wanted to know why, in fact, she was in this area, and we are told that they are in fact still questioning her at this hour.
Now, we heard a little while ago from the Prince George's County police spokeswoman, and she had some reassuring words for the neighborhood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE RICHARDSON, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY POLICE: I just want to reassure the people who live in this community and the parents who might have children in this community that we are doing everything as quickly and cautiously as possible to make sure that we check the woods and insure everybody again that nobody is in the woods. We don't know if anybody is in there. We just had the one person who stated they saw somebody walking into the woods. We just want to make sure that it is empty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIS: Police say they are acting on that tip, as that spokeswoman said. They, at this point, do not have a suspect. They want to see if, indeed, there is anything that comes out of this tip.
Schools in this area are on lockdown. Now, that's a situation they were in yesterday as well, which means no outside activities. They're all taking that extra precaution.
Now, the spokeswoman also said that this could be possibly a surveyor. Yesterday, there were witnesses that described people with long black bags also in the area carrying surveying equipment. That was what was inside those bags. So, police just are trying to figure out is this indeed surveyors. Once again, is this indeed, perhaps, the sniper heading into these woods? So the search now underway. FBI helicopter, just a short time ago, hovering overhead -- back to you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right, Patty Davis, thanks so much with the latest from there. We'll continue to check in with you.
Now the hunt for the sniper is being directed in Montgomery County, Maryland, where most of the killings have occurred.
CNN's Jean Meserve brings us more from there -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, today a reminder of what this is really all about, a funeral, another funeral, this for the first victim, the man gunned down last week by this sniper.
The county executive, Doug Duncan, said he had gone to this funeral, found it very inspiring, but reminded us all that these are sad events we are talking about.
If investigators are making any progress in this investigation, they are not telling us about that. They do say they are tracking down 1,600 credible leads, but they are asking for more help. They do believe it's going to be a tip from the public that may break this case open, and they are encouraging people to please call the hot lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: We have people living here, people with children here, and just be thoughtful before you do anything to compromise this investigation, to slow us down. We have the very best that the federal government has to offer. We have the very best at this agency and many agencies in this area. We have the best from MPD in Washington, D.C., we have the best from Prince George's County, Montgomery County. We are trying, and we are working very hard. But again, if someone -- or the industry causes us a problem here, we'll continue. We'll get through it. We'll find a way around it. But if that takes energy and distracts us from the focus, it may slow us down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: That was Chief Moose talking about a leak that occurred earlier today. It was revealed that a Tarot card was found at the scene of the shooting at the middle school in Prince George's County where a 13-year-old was gunned down on Monday morning. The Tarot card, the death card from the fortune telling pack, that was inscribed with the words "Dear Policeman: I am God."
Investors, CNN is told, are looking at this very carefully, trying to determine if it was, indeed, left by the shooter, or if, perhaps, it might have been left by a prankster.
CNN's Kelli Arena has learned that this Tarot card, along with some other evidence from that scene has been sent to the FBI laboratories. This from law enforcement sources. They are looking at -- they are running a series of tests on this, looking for things like DNA, fingerprints, also trying to track the origin of that Tarot card.
But the chief, very angry about the release of this information today, saying this might compromise the investigation. He just told us a few minutes ago that they have made some adjustments, they are moving on, they are tightening up the way evidence is being handled in this case -- back to you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right. Jeanne Meserve, thank you.
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