Tags: Olympic | Park | Bombing | Suspect | Captured

Olympic Park Bombing Suspect Captured

Sunday, 01 June 2003 12:00 AM

Police in Murphy, N.C., said rookie police officer J.S. Postell arrested Rudolph without incident at about 4:30 a.m., and Rudolph was being held in Cherokee County jail awaiting questioning by federal agents.

"I was just doing what I was hired to do," said Postell, who encountered Rudolph behind the Valley Village shopping center at about 4:30 a.m. Postell, 21, joined the Murphy police department in Cherokee County, N.C., less than a year ago.

Postell told reporters he was conducting his regular business checks when he "observed a male squatting in the road" behind the shopping center. The man "took off running and got behind a pile of milk crates," he said.

The young officer told the man to come out and he "was very cooperative, not a bit disrespectful," Postell said.

The man gave his name initially as Jerry Wilson, but volunteered his true name about 20 minutes later after being taken to the police station, said Keith Lovin, Cherokee County N.C. sheriff.

His fingerprints were then sent off to the Criminal Justice Service Center in West Virginia for confirmation.

"Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list has been captured," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement released in Washington. "This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent."

In October 1998, Rudolph was charged with the fatal bombing at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, as well as the double bombings at the Sandy Springs Professional Building in Atlanta in January 1997, and the double bombings at The Otherside Lounge in Atlanta in February 1997.

Rudolph was also charged in February 1998, with the bombing at the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, Ala., the Justice Department said. That attack killed an off-duty Birmingham police officer and severely injured a clinic nurse.

In total, Rudolph is charged with bombing attacks that killed two people and injured more than 150 others.

Lovin said Rudolph has only had "general conversations" and is awaiting formal questioning by federal officials.

"I'd describe his reaction as relieved," the sheriff said. Lovin added he appeared to have lost weight since he was last spotted in 1998 but otherwise seemed to be in good health. He was wearing "blue work britches, a blue work shirt and jogging shoes" when he was arrested.

Rudolph, 36, is an Army veteran and experienced outdoorsman. He hasn't been seen since July 1998 after he allegedly stole supplies from a health food store in North Carolina.

He has been on the run in the mountains of North Carolina for over five years despite an intensive manhunt. Police would not speculate Saturday on whether he had had outside assistance in addition to his backwoods training.

The FBI had offered a $1 million award for his arrest.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft released a statement Saturday confirming the arrest in western North Carolina of Eric Robert Rudolph, who has been charged in connection with several bombings that killed 2 people and injured more than 150 others:

"Today, Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list has been captured and will face American justice. American law enforcement's unyielding efforts to capture Eric Robert Rudolph have been rewarded.

Working with law enforcement nationwide, the FBI always gets their man. This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent.

I want to especially congratulate the local authorities in Murphy, North Carolina, who with the FBI and other local and state law enforcement throughout the country were able to apprehend this suspect.

While it has been a long struggle, they never stopped, never yielded and never gave up. The American people, most importantly the victims of these terrorist attacks, can rest easier knowing that another alleged killer is no longer a threat."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Police in Murphy, N.C., said rookie police officer J.S. Postell arrested Rudolph without incident at about 4:30 a.m., and Rudolph was being held in Cherokee County jail awaiting questioning by federal agents. "I was just doing what I was hired to do," said Postell, who...
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2003-00-01
Sunday, 01 June 2003 12:00 AM
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