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Sniper kills for the thrill: 8th attack leaves teen near death
New York Daily News ^
| HELEN KENNEDY
Posted on 10/08/2002 2:00:45 AM PDT by kattracks
WASHINGTON - The thrill killer terrorizing the capital suburbs shot a 13-year-old boy at his schoolhouse entrance yesterday to taunt police hunting for him, experts said.
They suspect the gunman targeted a schoolboy because officials spent all weekend assuring area parents their kids would be safe at school.
The killer's chilling motive was his own amusement.
"This person is killing for sport," said James Fox, dean of Northeastern University's College of Criminal Justice. "He's turned the Montgomery County area into his own personal shooting gallery."
The boy, who let out a cry and dropped his red knapsack as blood erupted on his shirt, became the marksman's eighth and youngest victim moments after his aunt dropped him off at school.
A single .223-caliber bullet from a long hunting rifle smashed into the boy's abdomen at 8:09 a.m., ripping through his pancreas, spleen and part of his left lung. His aunt bundled him into her car and rushed him to a hospital, where he was on a ventilator last night in serious condition.
Relatives said the eighth-grader normally attends a prayer service before classes at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., but missed it yesterday.
No one saw the shooter or the white box truck he is believed to be driving, possibly with a companion.
Judging from an area of matted grass where a police dog sniffed gunfire residue, the maniacal marksman was lying in wait on a wooded hill above the school, watching through his scope as the kids arrived at the entrance 150 yards away.
A tired Montgomery Police Chief Charles Moose could not contain his emotion when faced with a shot child.
'Getting ... personal'
"All of our victims have been innocent and have been defenseless," he said, a tear running down his left cheek. "But it's stepping over the line - shooting a kid. I guess it's getting to be really, really personal now."
Moose and County Executive Doug Duncan had promised Sunday that the schools would be safe, vowing a massive police presence and noting the killer did not appear to have targeted children.
That might have been a mistake.
"They were trying to reassure the mothers and fathers, but the shooter might have seen that to be a challenge," said former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.
"He might have thought: 'I'll take it right to where you said was safe to show you that no one and no location is safe.'"
Cops were posted at schools all over Montgomery County - but the shooting took place next door, in Prince George's County, another Washington suburb.
On a positive note, experts noted that the sniper took a greater risk by leaving his getaway car to climb around in the woods. He also may have left behind useful evidence on his grassy knoll - hairs, fibers or other debris.
"He's taking greater chances," said Van Zandt. "It's part of the usual pattern. You start to feel omnipotent. Eventually, he'll make a mistake, and that's how he'll be caught."
Moose called on Attorney General John Ashcroft to send federal help, and Duncan called on parents to help guard school kids this morning.
President Bush, who has monitored the wave of shootings, decried the "cowardly" shootings and issued a statement sending his "thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families."
In a region already traumatized by crashing planes and anthrax letters, the level of panic in the Washington region reached new heights after the lull of a shooting-free weekend.
Schools across the area locked youngsters indoors, parents rushed to take their kids home and pedestrians everywhere looked nervously over their shoulders.
"It's a fearful time," Duncan said. "As I'm leaving the funeral of one victim this morning, I'm getting briefed on this latest event."
The mad marksman began his reign of terror Thursday, picking off six people at random.
On Friday, the sniper shot a woman in a Virginia mall parking lot about 50 miles south of Washington. She was the first to survive, and her condition was upgraded yesterday to fair from serious.
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
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posted on 10/08/2002 2:00:45 AM PDT
When I was an undergraduate I took an introductory psychology course. They gave us case studies to demonstrate the "science" of psychology. One such study was about rats placed in a cage. At random intervals the wire grid on the bottom of the cage was given an electrical charge. After repeated doses of this treatment, the rats began to fight with one another. The conclusion proferred was that "incarceration of individuals leads to aggressive behavior". I was struck by the idiocy of the conclusion and swore off psychology! At the time, it occurred to me that the more obvious conclusion was that if you subject an animal to an undeserved, random negative stimulous, they conclude that the "other guy" is the culprit and start to fight over why this terrible thing is happening.
Guess what? This fits the terrorist mold! They supply random, intense negative stimulus from an unknown source and WE start to fight. How better to make a society turn on itself. Especially with our liberal media so willing to spread blame far and wide to hitherto undeserving sources; i.e., whites, serial killers, males, etc.
You have a serial killer addicted to shooting gallery games. Only this time its not in an arcade, its with live humans. This guy is one sick, psychopath puppy.
I am increasingly annoyed at how the media coaxes ever more hysterical statements from so-called expert observers. Calling Montgomery Co. "his own personal shooting gallery" is irresponsible at best.
And some rats just huddled in the corner and shivered.
Something I learned while in medical school and doing my required stint at a psychiatric facility:
The psychiatrist with the most aggressive personality and power is the one who is "right."
Only this time its not in an arcade, its with live humans
Provocative theory, our first video game killer?
I personally have been wondering if it is a terrorist who dreamed up this scenario because he was out of touch with his leadership and frustrated, like the one who shot up LAX.
But your theory is more interesting.
The motive of the shooter seems clear....inflict terror. Whether a member of a terrorist group or a lone terrorist, the shooter is none the less a terrorist - and he is being successful at inflicting terror on the citizens of the D.C. community.
posted on 10/08/2002 2:55:39 AM PDT
by Solid Oak
Look at the map. An obvious observation is that he is attacking all around Washington DC but not with in it.
Why would he do that? My first thought is he is rounding up sheep in a way. Wives and family and the people that work and live in Washington DC will stay in the area where he is not shooting at. It could be a prelude to a very large attack on DC.
I don't think this guy is a "thrill killer." He's far too professional in his actions...
posted on 10/08/2002 3:25:23 AM PDT
To: Steve Van Doorn
I guess folks in suburban Washington are getting some idea of what it is like to live in Israel. Perhaps there is more sympathy in and around Washington for the guys who were going after Arafat's compound with a backhoe than there was this time last week.
posted on 10/08/2002 3:25:52 AM PDT
by Tom D.
To: Steve Van Doorn
I think the guy is from the Maryland area... coming down 95 and veering right..which is the "easy" way to merge into traffic then finding an open shot... the last one was to "show" the cops that he was in charge. He veered left off of 95 and then found an open spot to "hunt". Sounds like someone who knew how to set up a target I don't know if this is just a hunter. Maybe somebody that reads a lot of the "sniper" books and is proud of his shooting prowess. It's interesting that after the cops reassured the public he hit a kid... what an a$$h$#e.
I think that maybe the death penalty will occur in the lib state of Maryland on this one. Especially if it turns out to be a "right-wing gun nut".... A terrorist would have to be "understood" and "related" with in order to understand his anger and the causes.
I thought that guns were all licensed in Maryland and DC?
But it's stepping over the line - shooting a kid...makes tax paying adults feel really good. The killer is alright as long as victims are adults, but one kid and then he goes over the line. No wonder he isn't caught with idiots like this.
posted on 10/08/2002 3:29:45 AM PDT
To: Dick Vomer
Yes they are all licensed in Maryland and DC, of course it is not actually happening. Hehe.
I still think he COULD be part of a larger plot against DC. Do you know the area? Which areas around DC are more affluent then the others? Thanks.
If this guy was a video game killer he would be jumping around looking for powerups and trying to rocket jump his way to building roofs.
Whoever he is, he sure as hell learned to do this somewhere, but not likely from video games.
To: goldstategop; the_Watchman
This article is just a whole ot of speculation by people with letters after their names who should know that one should base one's opinions on fact. As of now no one other than the sniper and any accomplises of the sniper knows the what is really motivating the shootings.
It may be some psychological game the sniper is playing but it may well be some sinister political motivation. The reason for speculation is to try and determine a logical means of finding and stopping the sniper. Unfortunately this article provides no new insights that lead us to that goal.
Stay well - Say safe - stay armed - yorktown
posted on 10/08/2002 4:39:03 AM PDT
What is the latest on the boy? I first heard his mother took him to the hospital, then that his guardian was driving him to school. Then that he was a troublemaker, whatever that means.
posted on 10/08/2002 4:55:39 AM PDT
To: Jimmy Valentine
I agree...let's not give this guy to much credit. Calling him a sharpshooter only makes what he is doing alright in his mind. He thinks he is a good shot now and will continue until he screws up.
posted on 10/08/2002 5:00:37 AM PDT
by .308 PSS
To: Dick Vomer
I think the sniper lives in MD, and realizes that he made a mistake by killing people close to where he lives on the first day of his shooting spree.
I think he's spread out now in order to draw attention away from where he lives.
Spotsylvania Mall in Fredericksburg, VA is on a major road right off I-95. In fact, you can see it from the highway.
I am not as familiar with Bowie but looking at the map, Benjamin Tasker Middle School is also on a major road, right off I-50, which crosses I-95.
Doesn't make me too happy since I live very close to a main road that has an exit from I-495.
Just wait until the cry of "ban and confiscate all those deadly sniper rifles!" is raised. I wonder if the average deer hunter will wake up then and realize they ARE coming after HIS guns,too? He/she never really gave a damn when the so-called Assault Weapons Ban came about,or when there were proposed bans on "Saturday Night Specials" because they didn't own any themselves,and "they ain't never coming after mah deer rifle!"
Perhaps I can be permitted to speculate. Let us suppose - just for a moment - that this murderer is in truth and in fact a terrorist. And that these events constitute a field test of a specific methodology.
We can note several things. First, the existing law enforcement mechanisms in Montgomery county have proven broadly ineffective in stopping the killer. Might we extrapolate that other areas would be equally ineffective?
Second, it seems probable that a great many resources are being committed to this effort. Resources are limited. Therefore a terrorist group might conclude that the liklihood of an individual operative being neutralized would decline rapidly as the number of killers increased. As few as a dozen such terrorists, operating semi-independently around the country, could exhaust the available resources.
Third, the killer - by attacking a child - has caused law enforcement to concentrate resources around schools. With the limitations previously mentioned, this must surely mean that other areas will be less protected. Were the killer to wait a few days, some targets might well be completely unprotected.
Nightmare scenario: At some point, the killer begins to target officials of one sort or another. This could range from politicians (Judges, Prosecutors) to police officers, or even to garbage collectors.
The problem is, even if this killer isn't a terrorist, he may be providing a demonstration of just how effective such tactics could be.
posted on 10/08/2002 5:18:27 AM PDT
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