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Capitol shooting suspect's lawyers want interview taped

Dickerson
Dickerson being assisted after the shooting  

Wounded Virginia tourist says she can identify shooter

July 30, 1998
Web posted at: 9:14 p.m. EDT (0114 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorneys for U.S. Capitol shooting suspect Russell Weston Jr. have gotten permission to videotape a meeting between Weston and two mental health professionals -- a possible first step in trying to establish an insanity defense.

CNN also has learned that federal authorities have found a letter Weston received from the Defense Department about two weeks before the shooting.

The letter was a brief denial of a complaint sent by Weston to a federal judge in which he accused the government of planting land mines on his property in Rimini, Montana. The Pentagon's denial was forwarded to his father's home in Illinois.

While a source close to the investigation told CNN that officials doubt the short letter would be enough to "send him over the edge," Weston's parents told the FBI that they believe "the letter would have scared their son about the federal government," according to an FBI affidavit filed to obtain a search warrant for his residence.

Weston, 41, has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, according to his parents. He remains hospitalized at D.C. General Hospital, recovering from wounds he sustained last Friday in a shoot-out in which two Capitol Police officers died.

Weston was unable to attend a scheduled court arraignment Thursday on a charge of killing a federal officer, which can carry the death penalty.

Chestnut, right, Gibson
Chestnut, right, Gibson  

Survivor says she was 'lucky one'

Meanwhile, the survivor of Friday's shooting spree at the Capitol, Angela Dickerson, spoke publicly about her ordeal for the first time

Dickerson, an interior designer from the Washington suburb of Chantilly, Virginia, was leaving the building with several relatives after a day visiting tourist sites when the shooting began.

"Considering all that happened, I truly did come out the lucky one," said Dickerson, whose turned 24 Thursday.

At a press conference at which cameras were not allowed, Dickerson -- who was hit in the shoulder and had a bullet fragment catch her under her right eye -- said she could positively identify the man who shot her. But her attorneys prevented her from identifying the shooter for reporters.

"After I was hit and was on the ground, there were still shots going on around me, and I was concerned about where all this fire was going and if he was going to come back," said Dickerson, who said she still has flashbacks of the incident.

She also said that the two Capitol Police officers who died Friday, Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut, helped save her life.

"I only wish that there were three surviving victims instead of just me. May God bless you," she said.

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Susan Candiotti was there when the woman wounded in the shooting, Angela Dickerson, told about the incident
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Security cameras caught part of scene

Late Friday afternoon, Weston allegedly entered the Capitol, shot Chestnut in the head, pressed on into the building and barged into the office of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, engaging in a gun battle with Gibson and one other Capitol Police officer.

Investigators continue to examine tapes obtained from security cameras in an effort to track the shooter's movements.

A law enforcement source familiar with a videotape shot by a camera inside the Capitol gave the Associated Press further details about the chilling scenes it captured.

The tape begins by showing the attacker's outstretched left hand, gun already drawn before he even reaches a metal detector positioned a few feet from the doorway. Chestnut, talking to a tourist, quickly crumbles to the ground.

The assailant, face obscured by a wide-brimmed hat, then goes through the metal detector, switches the gun to his right hand, pivots to his right and points the weapon as if to shoot, although no flash of light or smoke is seen.

He then takes a few steps and suddenly contorts his body, as if he had been shot or shot at. He then runs out of the camera's frame.

Hearing may be delayed until mid-August

On Thursday, Weston's attorneys asked a federal magistrate to delay Weston's first court appearance until at least August 18. Even then, a video hookup for Weston may have to be used because he may not be healthy enough to attend court in person.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office told CNN the government would probably not object to the defense request for a delay.

Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.
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