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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Baton Rouge Killing Tied to D.C. Area Sniper Rifle

Aired October 31, 2002 - 14:13   ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And now we want to turn to some breaking news. I want to go to our correspondent Art Harris in Atlanta for a report on the Washington-area sniper connection with some other crimes around the country -- Art.
ART HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, CNN has learned that the sniper's gun that is associated with the killings in the Washington and Baltimore area has been linked by ballistics to yet another murder, this one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A woman on 23 of September, who was closing up her beauty supply store when a bullet let came out of nowhere at 6:30 p.m.

Her name was Hong (ph) Ballinger, mother of three, and it was believed to be unconnected until ballistics were compared at the Louisiana state crime lab with the ballistics -- with the bullets from the Washington-area shootings and just came back positive. Her husband -- I just got off the phone with him -- Jim Ballinger, who said he had just spoken with a detective in Baton Rouge -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Art, once again, when did that killing, that shooting take place?

HARRIS: This happened on a Monday night, September 23, which is a time frame police are reconstructing -- the time line of when John Muhammad and Lee Malvo were believed to be in Baton Rouge. That was a place where Mr. Muhammad had spent a lot of time, had family. And this was a period that is believed to have overlapped with the time that he lived there and was back visiting his family and friends. They're constructing that time line now.

There's a witness, Judy, that was also reportedly in the area and has told police that she heard the gunshot that hit Ms. Ballinger in the head and saw a short, thin black man running away from the parking lot into a residential neighborhood. This is north of that shop. He was wearing baggy black pants, white tank top, and carried a white T- shirt slung over his shoulder and her husband tells me that she was also robbed, possibly between $1000 and $1500 dollars. She had her salary -- a salary from payroll that day. And if you compare this to the Montgomery, Alabama murder outside the liquor store where a victim's purse is believed to have been missing, detectives and sources are telling us that it could fit the same M.O which some are calling "the closing time killings" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Art Harris, connecting the Washington-area snipers with yet another killing, another shooting in Louisiana.

Art, thank you very much. 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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