Thursday, October 17, 2002

Breaking News: Witness Account Falsified

Yahoo reports Account of Sniper May Not Be True

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - A witness who described the Washington sniper, his assault rifle and his cream-colored van gave police a phony story, investigators said Thursday in a setback that casts doubt on much of what the public thought it knew about the roving killer.

Prosecutors said the witness could face charges. His name was not immediately released.

Fairfax County police Lt. Amy Lubas said the inaccurate account was exposed by checking it against that of other witnesses to Monday night's killing of an FBI cyberterrorism analyst in a crowded Virginia parking lot outside a Home Depot. It was the only shooting so far that people actually saw.

Asked if the witness may have intentionally misled investigators, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, who is heading the investigation, said simply, "Yes."

Just another example where the police and media should stay silent. Now false prejudices against AK-47s and cream colored vans have been spread. SunSpot has the following interesting story which provides the polices' view of this whole media fiasco:

"Good morning. I have absolutely nothing to report. We're trying to catch a real bad guy here. And if I tell you what we know about the bad guy, the bad guy may find out and change his method of operation, which will just make him harder to catch.

"So I'm wasting my time with you people. Goodbye."

But, of course, Moose will say no such thing.

If he did, the media would descend on police headquarters like a mob of torch-wielding Balkan villagers looking for the Wolfman, and nothing would get done.

They would follow Moose home at night and park their satellite trucks at his curb and set up their TV cameras on his lawn and throw their take- out pizza boxes in his shrubbery, and the poor man would get no peace at all.

So he steps to the podium day after day and listens uneasily as one self- important blowhard after another fires questions, some of them questions that would actually make you wince.

"What would you say to the sniper if he's watching?" was one of the beauties Moose took recently.

According to eyewitnesses, the chief seemed stunned that someone had actually dusted off this horrible cliche. For several seconds he was silent. Perhaps he was reassessing his decision years earlier to go into law enforcement, for surely he could never have envisioned a day when he'd have to deal with such fools.

"Turn yourself in," the chief managed at last.

If the sniper were sitting at home in front of the TV, he must have had a good long laugh over that one.

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