Within two hours after the shooting, Inspector Dowd had decided to institute a “Code 44” – the special strategy police put into use when the Son of Sam strikes. While police at the scene roped off the site of the shooting and immediately began the search for witnesses, other units were alerted to watch bridges and highways – possible escape routes for the killer.
An angry Sgt. John Coffey of the homicide force said, “We had 2,000 cops out looking for Sam this weekend. We thought for sure he would strike in Queens or the Bronx, but all the publicity must have driven him into Brooklyn.”
The frustration of the task force officers was also evident as they conceded that their chief suspects – all under surveillance since Thursday – had now been dramatically and conclusively able to establish their innocence.
“It’s a whole new ball game now. There were many people who we had ruled out. The worse would be if we had talked to Sam and let him go.” Dowd
Excerpt from Howard Blum Aug 1, 1977 New York Times