WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (AFP) - Police hunted for a roving sniper in suburban
Washington Saturday, after evidence linked a fourth of six fatal shootings
over recent days.
Friday night passed without incident, but police still have no suspect and
are seeking evidence to connect a seventh shooting with the spree.
Charles Moose, the chief of police in Montgomery County, Maryland -- where
the first five shootings occurred -- told reporters early Saturday that tests
had shown that at least four of the victims were shot with the same
Moose acknowledged that linking the Washington shooting meant that the
attacks were "on-going" with a "larger window," but urged residents not to
"This case remains our highest priority and people certainly still have
high anxiety," he said. Nevertheless the community "is safe at this moment."
"I say in complete confidence that we must go on," he said.
Officials have said that the shootings were the work of a skilled marksman
shooting apparently random victims, possibly from dozens of meters (yards)
The first five victims were slain within a few miles of each other over 16
hours late Wednesday and early Thursday in Montgomery County, an affluent
suburb bordering Washington.
The sixth victim, a 72-year old man, was shot in the chest at around 9:15
pm Thursday (0115 GMT Friday) while standing on a street corner in Washington,
close to the Maryland state border.
Police early Saturday were also trying to establish whether the Friday
shooting of a woman at a shopping mall Spotsylvania, Virginia, located 83
kilometers (52 miles) south of Washington, was the work of the same sniper.
The woman, who survived, was being treated at an area hospital for a single
gunshot wound to the back.
Moose said that a car found near her had been transported to Montgomery
County for testing for "bullet fragments or other evidence."
FBI agents said a semiautomatic rifle, such as a military-issued M-16 or a
sniper rifle, was probably used in the attacks.
The perpetrator was possibly an experienced hunter or someone with a
military background, they added, stating that they expect to release a profile
of the shooter later in the day.
Police throughout the Washington area have put out an alert for a "gray or
silver midsized vehicle or car seen entering parking lot and leaving at a
rapid speed at the time of the shooting," Baur said.
Officials were also looking for a white van carrying two people as a
"vehicle of interest" in the Montgomery County shootings.
Authorities have offered a reward of up to 50,000 dollars for details
leading to an arrest and indictment, Moose said.
Authorities said they believed the killers are still in the area, noting
police had no clue to a motive.
Police officials told local media they had received some 600 "credible"
tips in the case, but so far have made no arrests in the case
"We're trying to work very methodically, trying to continue to have a
big-picture approach," Moose said. "Nothing is off the board, nothing is
Meanwhile residents the entire Washington region remained on edge, with
many residents opting to remain indoors.
"I'm terrified," said Janaina Rocha, one of the victims' neighbors, "and I
feel very, very bad."