FBI agents in Atlanta were questioning a man in connection with the deaths of some of the 28 young blacks slain there in the past 22 months, a bureau spokesman confirmed early this morning.
The spokesman said no arrests had been made and no warrants issued. Atlanta Police Commissioner Lee P. Brown and Morris Redding, chief of the special police task force investigating the slayings, were summoned to FBI headquarters in Atlanta late last night after the man was taken into custody.
Neither local police, the U.S. attorney nor the Justice Department would make an official comment, but an FBI spokesman said a statement was planned at 8 a.m.
The man being questioned was described by a source close to the task force as a black in his early 20s who works as a free-lance television cameraman in the Atlanta area. The source said he was being questioned in at least 10 of the slayings.
The man was taken into custody on the basis of evidence gathered by electronic surveillance of his car and home, according to a source close to the task force.
The surveillance followed an incident May 22 in which FBI agents, watching the Bankhead Highway bridge over the Chattahoochee River, discovered a man throwing something into the river, which winds past Atlanta and along whose banks six of the slain blacks have been found, the source said.
Three days after the incident, the body of nathaniel Cater, who at 27 was the oldest of the 28 victims, was found in the river in northwest Atlanta near the same bridge.
The man being questioned also was identified, the source said, by a 15-year-old black youth who had told police two weeks ago that someone tried to abduct him. The youth was shown a photograph of the man who, the source said, lives in a predominatly black area of northwest Atlanta.
The source said that the man being questioned had been at several of the murder scenes as a cameraman and still photgrapher, and that a search of his car turned up assorted equipment normally used in police work -- badges, sirens, lights and radio scanners.
The source said forensic experts had examined the contents of the car's trunk and found dog hair and carpet fibers that apparently matched what was found at crime scenes and on some of the victims' bodies.