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N.C. Authorities Asked To Be On Lookout For D.C. Area Sniper

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Troopers in North Carolina and other states have been asked to assist in the investigation of a series of shootings in the Washington, D.C. area.

Troopers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are being asked to look for a white box van with Rhode Island license plates. Authorities believe the sniper who they say may be responsible for the recent shootings may be driving that vehicle.

"We really need to catch this guy and stop what he's doing. It's very dangerous. He could be watching us right now," Trooper Jason Hare said.

Authorities are asking troopers in southern states to keep an eye out for the suspect, especially on Interstate 95 South.

"At one of the scenes, it was dispatched that it was possible the suspect was last seen traveling south on Interstate 95, so attention is being placed on Interstate 95," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol.

On Wednesday near Benson, an off-duty Florida police officer spotted a white van with Rhode Island plates. Troopers stopped the van in Cumberland County at exit 51. Authorities said it was not the right van, but the Highway Patrol said it is interested in any vehicle matching the description on I-95.

The recent shootings are also having a local impact for Wake County schools as two schools have canceled field trips to the Washington, D.C. area.

Green Hope High had 125 students in an Economic, Legal, and Political Systems class that planned a two-day trip to visit museums and historical sites near the Washington mall and attend a play.

Debbie Yamauchi, a teacher at Green Hope High, was excited about plans to use Washington D.C., as a classroom. More than 100 students and 10 chaperones were on the list to go this week.

"Personally, when I saw the Washington school districts were not having a lot of activities with their students outside, I was nervous about bringing our students from North Carolina," she said.

Fuquay-Varina High had 34 students from a Paideia class for English and Social Studies that planned a three-day trip to visit museums and historical sites near the Washington mall, and attend a play.

"Our first concern is about our students' safety," Wake Superintendent Bill McNeal said. "We grieve with the Maryland families whose loved ones have been killed and wounded, and we grieve for the children and families whose lives have been affected by these tragedies including the shooting of the Prince George's County student Monday."

Officials say principals at the two Wake schools had begun receiving calls from parents concerned about their children's safety on the planned trip.

"For now, we will handle this on a daily basis," McNeal said. "We will monitor news coverage, the actions of Washington metro school systems, and seek advice of law enforcement to see when conditions change, and when it's appropriate for field trips to the area to resume."

McNeal and the Wake Board of Education suspended out-of-state field trips by Wake students from Oct. 2 to Dec. 1 last year after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.


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