Skip to comments.First Major Clue in Sniper Attacks
Posted on 10/08/2002 9:14:50 PM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29
9 News has learned that police have their first major clue in the manhunt for the sniper who has killed six people and wounded two.
The killer left a calling card. It was found not far from where a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded Monday morning at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.
In a nearby wooded area, detectives found the spot where the sniper apparently waited in ambush. The grass was matted down, a shell casing was found and, law enforcement sources say, investigators found a message from the gunman to the Police.
It was written on a Tarot Card, an ancient method of fortune telling. The cards are supposed to help people look into the future.
You might remember the cards were used in one of the old James Bond movies, 'Live and Let Die.'
They're are 78 cards in a Tarot deck. Near the Middle School Monday, Prince George's County detectives found one card - the Death Card.
Law enforcement sources say there was a message scribbled on the card. It read; 'Dear Policeman, I am God.'
According to a history of Tarot cards, 'The Death Skeleton' comes to all: child, father, mother, king and priest.'
The Sniper has killed six people and wounded two.
The child, who was wounded Monday, is in critical, but stable condition.
Of the six who were killed, four were men and two were woman.
When contacted by 9-News, Prince George's County police issued a statement saying, "We're are not commenting on any potential evidence that may have been located."
Tuesday, police returned to at least one of the other crime scenes searching once again for any evidence left behind by the killer.
As the search continues for the gunman on the loose, one of the victims has gone home from the hospital.
Janice Moore, a spokeswoman for Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, says the woman shot in Fredericksburg was discharged Tuesday.
The 43-year-old Spotsylvania woman was shot in the back, Friday, in a parking lot at a Michaels craft store at the Spotsylvania Mall. Her identity has not been released.
Forensic evidence from that case has been linked to the other shootings last week in Maryland and DC.
Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect continues to grow.
Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan announced Tuesday afternoon that the total is now over $237,000. Duncan says he's hoping the money will get someone with crucial information to come forward. He calls it a "huge help" to have such a large reward.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to the reward fund can send a check to:
The Montgomery County Reward Fund Office of the County Executive 101 Monroe Street Rockville, Maryland 20850.
Federal authorities are examining a shell casing found at Monday's shooting outside a Bowie school. That word Tuesday from Prince George's County Police Chief Gerald Wilson, who also says a man was taken into custody overnight, after police found seven weapons at his Bowie home. However, Wilson says none of the guns found could have been used in the series of shootings.
Wilson says he's confident a break in the case will come when someone reports seeing something strange, and that leads police to the suspect.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose says Attorney General John Ashcroft has approved the county's request for federal resources. Moose says authorities won't release FBI profiles of the sniper, out of concern it'll create what he calls "tunnel vision" with the public. Moose fears people would only look for people who meet that profile.
Moose says they've received more than 1,200 credible tips.
Montgomery County public schools will be closed Wednesday for a previously scheduled staff development day.
Students at DC public schools will be kept inside Wednesday during recess, while all sports and other outdoor activities are canceled. Field trips are also being scrapped for District kids. The routine is basically the same that the schools followed Tuesday. The school system is making crisis counselors available to students and staff.
Once again Wednesday, Fairfax County Public Schools will move all outdoor activities indoors. And those that can't be moved will be canceled. But for the first time in several days, Fairfax will allow field trips. They will take place at the discretion of each principal. A heightened police presence will continue at county schools, and counselors are being made available to students and staff.
Gov. Parris Glendening made an appeal to the killer to turn himself in. "We're talking about a person here who is basically a coward," Glendening said. "This is a person who is shooting elderly men, shooting women, and now shooting little children. And I really think if there is any message, it is for this individual to turn himself in, to stop this insane killing."
Prince George's County, the scene of the latest shooting, sent two helicopters to patrol the county as schools opened and had police officers at every school. Police in neighboring Montgomery County, where five people were killed last week, also guarded schools.
Moose said Tuesday afternoon that there were no further reports of shootings.
A task force including local and state police, the FBI and the Secret Service mobilized to pursue the sniper, but police acknowledged having few clues or eyewitness accounts to solve one of the most frightening serial killings in memory.
The 13-year-old Benjamin Tasker student was shot as his aunt dropped him off Monday morning. The teenager, wounded in the torso, was in critical but stable condition Tuesday at Children's Hospital in Washington. Doctors said they were optimistic he would survive.
Ballistics tests found the bullet that struck the teen was identical to those that killed some of the others and wounded a woman in Virginia, said Joe Riehl, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
All victims were hit by a single bullet fired from a distance. Police have spoken of a single sniper, but have not ruled out the possibility that more than one person is involved.
On Tuesday, ATF agent Michael Bouchard said investigators were trying to determine whether a Sept. 14 shooting in Hillendale in Montgomery County was linked to the recent sniper attacks, refusing to provide further details.
The owner of Hillendale Beer and Wine confirmed Tuesday that an unknown gunman shot an employee in his back in front of the store Sept. 14. The 22-year-old man survived.
"It just seems too coincidental," said the owner, who asked not to be identified. No one saw the shooter, he said, adding that police re-interviewed him Sunday about the shooting. However, police Tuesday said ballistics tests on the Hillendale shooting were inconclusive.
President Bush denounced the attacks as "cowardly and senseless acts of violence" and ordered FBI profiling experts and ballistics analysts from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to assist local police.
Police and federal agents searched the grounds around Benjamin Tasker, sorted through thousands of tips, pored over maps and put together a psychological profile to hunt down the sniper.
They also began to use a geographic profile submitted by investigators that uses crime locations to determine where the killer feels comfortable traveling and may live.
All the victims were shot in public places: the boy outside school, two at gas stations, two in parking lots, another outside a post office, another as he mowed the grass and the eighth on a street corner.
Dr. Martin Eichelberger, director of emergency trauma service at Children's Hospital, said doctors working on the boy made a special effort to find a portion of the bullet to give to police.
Ballistics evidence also linked the Maryland slayings with the wounding of a 43-year-old woman Friday. She was shot in the back in a parking lot at a craft store in Fredericksburg, Va., 50 miles south of here, and was in fair condition Tuesday.
The high-velocity rounds used in the shootings are common military ammunition and are also a favorite of recreational shooters. They can be used in many types of guns.
Overnight, Prince George's County Police were busy in their search for the shooter of a teenage boy and seven others. 9 News was on the scene in Bowie overnight as detectives served a search warrant at an apartment not far from Monday's shooting.
Police seized seven weapons, including rifles and hand guns, but at this point, law enforcement sources tell 9 News they have nothing to conclusively link the man to the shootings.
Detectives and evidence technicians moved in with the search warrant at 12:30 Tuesday morning. For two hours they went through the man's ground floor apartment. The apartment is in Bowie, less than two miles from Monday's shooting scene at Benjamin Tasker Middle school.
Law enforcement sources say police became aware of the man from a tip shortly after the shooting. There was enough information that detectives became very interested, very quickly. According to the sources, the man was brought in for questioning Sunday. Later police applied for, and received, the search warrant. As police worked through the early morning hours, it appeared his neighbors were mostly unaware of the search. Besides the weapons, police also removed a computer.
"We need everyone to do their part to bring this killer to justice," said County Executive Douglas Duncan.
To that end, Montgomery County police established an additional tip hotline as they continue to urge citizens to call with any possible information. Citizens now may call either 240-777-2600 or 1-800-755-9424. Police say if you get a busy signal, call back, because every call is important.
Officials say the role of the FBI in seeking the killer is being broadened from technological and forensics aid to investigative participation.
This card represents transformation and rebirth of the consciousness into higher planes. The death skeleton comes to all as shown in the picture, child father, mother, king and priest. Death has no care for station in this material plane and all suffer the same fate in the end. Numerologically, this card is a 13/4. There were 12 disciples and christ was the 13th. The white horse that is well tamed, symbolic of pure desires and the submisiveness to the cycles of life.
Does that mean he's going to be gunning for a priest and a king next?
Please help eradicate ignorance...does this mean they were fired from the same gun?! or just the same make/type/ammo?
Curious about the Tarot card...and weren't there two people in the original "suspect" white truck?
Got to catch up on my reading, I guess... ;)
The deal with the "white truck"...
The white truck was seen by ONE PERSON. It was seen near the scene of one of the shootings. No one saw anyone shoot anyone from the white truck. The white truck may not have anything to do with anything. The number of people in the white truck seems to be uncertain.
There have been thousands and thousands of experiments involving college classrooms, etc (often demonstrated in a Psych 101 class) where in a sudden, surprise situation, people are COMPLETELY incapable of accurately witnessing anything. Often in the same test people give contradictory eyewitness reports. The white truck may not even be white, or even a truck.
Rest assured, if the perp is caught and it's not an Islamic Terrorist, there will be a massive cottage industry in books written about the REAL snipers who were Al Quedaa operatives in a white truck, and they'll be advertised on World Net Daily and on Newsmax.com.
Why were his guns taken then?
Just look at the way the FBI has handled the Anthrax cases, it keeps saying Hatfield is not a suspect, it even said Hatfield is not a "person of interest" when they were ransacking his home.
Stay Safe Bro !
Sure makes me glad I only have 6!
Because it's Md,but mostly because they CAN. Just wait until the new Office of Reich Security gets rolling!
Where?! Link much appreciated! That was my real question...the reporting was so unclear whether the bullets were "identical" in "type" or, identical in "fact", meaning the same gun. The implication seemed to be "the same gun", but why then didn't they just say that?!
Yes, I must catch upon my reading, never mind about the "white truck" (too right, no doubt, JHK, hehe!) and, K4, I don't know exactly how "ping lists" work, but if it's anything like a "clearing-house site" for the "latest updates" on this story, I think that would be great idea, as no one has time all the time to catch up on all the news!
Freegards, all, and thanks for helping /ignorance! ;)