Skip to comments."Police Arrest Witness Accused Of Lying To Sniper Investigators"
Posted on 10/18/2002 4:57:12 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
Falls Church Man Faces 6-Month Jail Term
Fairfax County Police have arrested and charged Matthew Dowdy, 37, of Falls Church, Va., for allegedly making false statements to police.
Dowdy was arrested Friday afternoon, one day after police said his account of Monday night's sniper shooting outside the Home Depot store had been discredited.
He is charged with "knowingly and willfully make(ing) a materially false statement or representation to a law enforcement officer who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another". He faces up to six months in jail.
Dowdy's story began to unravel when police compared it to accounts from others who saw the fatal shooting Monday night of an FBI analyst in a Home Depot store parking garage. Eleven people have been shot in the sniper attacks since Oct. 2, and nine have died.
"He couldn't see what he said he saw," said Robert F. Horan Jr., the prosecutor in Fairfax County, Va.
"It would have been better if it didn't happen, but it didn't cripple the investigation," said Fairfax police Lt. Amy Lubas. She said there were other witnesses to Monday's shooting outside the store in Falls Church, Va.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose urged people Friday not to let the discredited witness case inhibit them from coming forward with information they think could be useful in the investigation.
"This is not an effort by police to credit or discredit them," Moose said. Investigators are revisiting some of the shooting scenes to see if they yield more clues, Moose said. He said they also are looking at a Sept. 14 shooting at a beer and wine store in Montgomery County's Hillandale section to see if there is any connection.
Police said they don't have a composite sketch of the sniper who has terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. Authorities haven't ruled out the possibility there could be multiple suspects.
U.S. investigators are questioning terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba over whether they had any information about the sniper attacks, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official characterized the interviews as an effort to cover all possible investigative avenues, adding that officials do not necessarily believe al-Qaida might be responsible for or even knowledgeable about the shootings.
The only known communication believed to be from the sniper is a tarot death card found at one scene with the words: "Dear Policeman, I am God."
Acting on tips and leads, police have served search warrants, checked motor vehicle records, searched military documents and used other tactics to sift through a constantly changing list of suspects.
Many people own guns that can fire the .223 caliber bullets used in the attacks or drive white vans similar to vehicles seen leaving the shootings.
Police had several people under surveillance Monday night, according to a law enforcement source. They were cleared after the FBI agent was shot in a parking garage around 9 p.m.
That incident initially appeared to give police a big break in the case -- the first witness to see the sniper.
But Moose said Thursday the witness was not credible. He also chastised reporters for running reports about the weapon and descriptions of the suspect as olive-skinned, possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern.
"We get this noise out there that gives people tunnel vision and makes them focus in on things that are not appropriate," he said.
Moose said the Dowdy's emphatic description of the shooter's AK-74 assault rifle is also bogus. But investigators cautioned that they still believe the sniper is using one of a family of more than 30 similar assault-type weapons capable of firing a .223-caliber bullet.
"The message we're trying to say is please keep an open mind," Moose said. "People saw a description of a weapon over the last day and a half and we're convinced they eliminated people they know because they say, `Their gun is not the weapon I saw in the paper.'"
Police have defended their tight control on information in the case, saying they don't want potential witnesses to be influenced. They have, however, released composite drawings of white box trucks and vans that were reported leaving shooting incidents.
After two massive police dragnets failed to catch the killer, police increased their presence on highways. Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said troopers have doubled their patrols outside Washington by pulling in officers from other counties.
Schools in the region continued operating under lockdown restrictions, with outdoor sports and activities postponed. Montgomery County school officials planned a meeting next week to search for ways to salvage shortened fall sports seasons.
Copyright 2002 by nbc4.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
I now laugh with contempt for all those racists and bigots here who were so quick to ASSume that the shooter(s) is a Muslim or even Al Qaeda, just because that particular stereotype fits their own personal political or cultural agenda. I am not accusing anyone here at FR of racism or bigotry, but, quite frankly, some of the asinine posts I've seen made by cowards hiding behind certain handles here mainly serves to fan the flames of disinformation and the anti-RKBA fear mongering crap dominating the American media these days. And besides, a TRUE conservative would have waited until the facts were in rather than jumping to conclusions as quickly as some do here on FR. Just because we (some of us) are "conservatives" does not mean we should suffer from that "tunnel vision" that Chief Moose continues to emphasize in this case.
IMHO, we FReepers should really be focusing on helping our local police forces catch this murderer(s) while also helping to preserve all our civil and constitutional rights.
'Enuff said. /rant off. Flame retardant suit on. ;-)
Make up your mind.
Never mind OK City, A few commerial airliners, WTC..WTC again....Pentagon... al-Qaida strikes all over the globe... and the al-Qaeda playbook that spells out precisely this scenario....
I am not accusing anyone here at FR of racism or bigotry,
You already did....or maybe that wasnt written in your handwriting? Lets see if your boy Matthew Dowdy converted to Islam in the joint or has been approached by any...who knows maybe he is just following orders maybe it was the big reward..
I believe I am but a lowly, "honorary member" of the DeeCee FReeper Chapter due to the MudCave being located in the Capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA...how do I become an official member of the DeeCee FReepers and become eligible to buy one of them there kewl "BLACK" jackets with "freerepublic.com" scrawled accross the left breast?!
As someone else so eloquently said, if FR had an Olympic Jumping-to-Conclusions team, we'd sweep the medals every year.
He said, "I got a good look at the guy."