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Police Confirm Sniper's Link to 7th Killing
New York Times ^ | 10/10/02 | FRANCIS X. CLINES and SARAH KERSHAW

Posted on 10/10/2002 9:55:38 PM PDT by kattracks

MANASSAS, Va., Oct. 10 — The sniper had already moved on hours earlier in the rain by the time ballistic experts finally confirmed his seventh killing in eight days. Washington area residents were already deeper into their fears, waiting for his next move.

"It's a whodunit at this point," said Charlie Deane, the police chief of Prince William County, reporting that the shot to the head that took down the customer at a gas station here was a match for the earlier killings by the roving sniper who has eluded an extensive manhunt across the suburbs even as he chooses new victims.

"It's a very frightening case," said the chief in confirming forensic evidence that the gunman had once more needed only a single rifle shot to kill an unaware victim from afar here Wednesday night.

In a nine-day rampage of terrifying marksmanship, the sniper has killed seven people and critically wounded two, stalking his victims from 100 yards or more with a high-powered hunting or military rifle as they went about mundane daily activities.

The latest victim was identified as Dean H. Meyers, a 53-year-old civil engineer from Gaithersburg, Md., who had stopped for gas on his way home from his job here. Mr. Meyers paused alone, like the earlier victims, and was shot once in the head. He crumpled to the ground by the gas pumps of the Battlefield Sunoco station just off Interstate 66, about 30 miles southwest of Washington.

"We have witnesses we think are of value," Chief Deane of the police said, without offering details.

This might mean relative progress in comparison to the sniper's earlier assaults where he eluded detection in shooting his victims from cover with no witnesses coming forward.

The only witness until the Wednesday shooting told the police of seeing a white cargo truck speed from one shooting scene a week ago in Montgomery County, Md.

Initially the police said witnesses here described a white panel minivan similar to a Dodge Caravan leaving the scene of the shooting. That vehicle was found after the police searched the metropolitan region. But Chief Deane said its movements "may be explained away," with no suspect in the offing.

The news of the sniper's cutting down another victim amid life's routine heightened a sense of torment, of being lethally toyed with, that has spread across the region since the shootings began last week.

"Where are we going to hide?" asked James A. Worthey, a town house neighbor of Mr. Meyers in Gaithersburg. "How are we going to live our lives?"

Mr. Meyers's neighbor Suzanne Iverson, a teacher, said she had known Mr. Meyers for 25 years as a most unobtrusive neighbor who lived alone. He would help get her lawn mower running, she said. He liked jogging and motorcycle riding. From the evidence through a window, a worn fielder's glove, the victim had liked baseball, too.

"He was the kind of neighbor everybody would want to have," Ms. Iverson said.

The sniper began enlarging his territory after he killed his first six victims last week. They were unaware of being stalked as they pursued simple activities — mowing a lawn, cleaning a car, taking a walk — within a five-mile circle of the suburbs of Montgomery County and northern Washington.

On Friday the gunman ranged 50 miles south to Fredericksburg, Va., and critically wounded a shopper outside her car. On Monday, he ventured east to Bowie, Md., took aim from 150 yards in the woods and critically wounded a 13-year-old boy at the threshold of his school.

The shooting here, in a western suburban county that only yesterday began relaxing its restrictions on outdoor school activities, compounded fear and anger that the sniper seems to be treating the commuter belt as a kind of grotesque preserve for hunting innocent strangers.

"How can you isolate yourself from this?" Mr. Worthey asked. "I'm getting more scared by the minute."

The police, acting in a coordinated federal, state and local manhunt, once more pleaded for tips from the public. Thousands called in.

Some offered specific information, others pet theories about what has become a lethal cat-and-mouse game with the sniper reported to have left a tarot death card containing a message for the police at one shooting scene, "Dear Policeman, I am God."

The card also contained a warning to the police to not disclose it to the members of the news media, according to a report today in The Washington Post. This may explain the public anger toward the news media of Montgomery County's police chief, Charles A. Moose, the leader of the coordinated manhunt, after news of the card was leaked on Tuesday night to a television station.

Some close to the investigation speculated the chief sought to repair a hoped-for channel of communications with the sniper with his display of anger. Earlier in the week, while the "God" card was still secret, Chief Moose told a news conference, "You should understand that I hope to God that some day we'll know why all of this occurred."

Chief Moose paused today when asked whether he had had any new communication from the sniper. "I guess it's a matter of what one would call communications," he replied, as if considering the latest shooting the sniper's most woeful message.

Here in Virginia, Chief Deane said there was no new sniper message found thus far at the gas station shooting. Scores of detectives carefully combed a wide, half-mile highway stretch just south of the Manassas Civil War battle zone.

The region's fear is palpable, said Carol Thomas, the former wife of the anxious Mr. Worthey, who called her today. She lives in Montgomery County near where a woman quietly sitting on a bench was shot in the head a week ago.

"The first five were within a mile or two of me," Ms. Thomas said of the victims. "I don't know if I can feel more fearful, but I guess I do, I do really feel fearful, just going out to get gas.

"I look around," she said, looking around her gated retirement community. "I rule out a gas station because it's near an Interstate. I look for trees, if there are places to hide. I look to see where — you can't be sure where he's going to go next. Who can anticipate? Who knows what county, what section of the county? It's some kind of roulette. It's made me jumpy and I'd like the guy to be caught."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
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1 posted on 10/10/2002 9:55:38 PM PDT by kattracks
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To: Route66; Peach; Bella; Pete; areafiftyone; brigette; harpseal; Merovingian; Miss Marple; ...
Maryland watch ping
2 posted on 10/10/2002 10:08:41 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
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To: Freee-dame; maica
Very scary days. And all this from just one shooter.
3 posted on 10/10/2002 10:27:13 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
If this shooter is an Islamic,I fear these shootings could be an experimental,learning,prototype action to collect the knowledge for widespread attacks of the same kind by a large number of shooters across the country.

Isn't a .223 considered a medium or intermediate power cartridge?

I've used Colt AR 15s for coyotes and cats (bobcats,calm down folks) and never thought of a .223 as a high power load.

4 posted on 10/10/2002 11:04:52 PM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: Travis McGee; Squantos
Another couple of quicky cartridge questions,if you don't mind.

What is considered a low power cartridge?A 22 mag or does something bigger fit the bill?

I've used .17 cal. Remingtons,what would they be considered?

5 posted on 10/10/2002 11:31:12 PM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: kattracks
Is this guy shooting from a far distance, or are the press and folks calling him a sniper to get rid of guns like that in the future?
I'm not being rude, just haven't totally followed this at all.
6 posted on 10/10/2002 11:33:29 PM PDT by A CA Guy
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To: kattracks
Sounds like we need to arm the people. Take him out when they see him trying to shoot someone.
7 posted on 10/10/2002 11:42:35 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn
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To: Free Trapper; spectr17
Varmint Round.....17 remington........ (But a trapper not wanting to tear up a pelt knows that right :o)

By definition any caliber that breaks 1140 FPS at an ambient temp of 60 degrees f is super sonic thus IMHO high velocity. If a 230 grain military ball 45ACP traveling at 850 FPS is low velocity and a .117 caliber air rifle pellet traveling at 1200 FPS is high velocity.

Which one would ya rather get hit with ?;O)

It's all subject to each persons views as we shall now discover here on this thread........:o) Spectr17 may weigh in and correct /help me. Stay Safe !

8 posted on 10/10/2002 11:47:42 PM PDT by Squantos
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Free Trapper
If you are conservative, spitting is "high powered."

Squantos and Travis will have actual answers for you...but I think my point is sound.
10 posted on 10/11/2002 12:00:19 AM PDT by PoorMuttly
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To: harpseal
I'd appreciate your thoughts on my #s 4 and 5.

I use rifles but have been more into pistols ever since I was a kid because weight and having a free hand has always been important to me.

I've used many types of firearms through the years but never read up on much,just used what I liked to get the job done and let it go at that.

11 posted on 10/11/2002 12:01:18 AM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: JohnLoyRocker
You're right; this isn't the doings of some Islamacist.
12 posted on 10/11/2002 12:03:53 AM PDT by nopardons
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To: Free Trapper
Just an idle 2 cents before checking out...if you can use a single shot (or a Desert Eagle!), have you considered a .256Win.Mag.? Few do...but it's a scorcher, with a small bullet.

Glad harpseal is here. The usual suspects...and I am their fan.
13 posted on 10/11/2002 12:06:23 AM PDT by PoorMuttly
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To: kattracks
The card also contained a warning to the police to not disclose it to the members of the news media, according to a report today in The Washington Post.

Freepers why do you think the sniper wanted the tarot card facts kept away from the press? (JMHO - I think he wanted this to be his calling card, so that when a shooting occurred the cops would always know it was him and not some copycat killer...)
14 posted on 10/11/2002 12:13:22 AM PDT by stlnative
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To: nopardons
I agree...
15 posted on 10/11/2002 12:15:02 AM PDT by stlnative
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To: brigette
You figure it'll drive him nuts if somebody else gets the credit?

I hope he/she/it doesn't get mad.
16 posted on 10/11/2002 12:15:44 AM PDT by PoorMuttly
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To: PoorMuttly
Well I think he has already realised that their will be copycat shootings.. but he wants the cops to know what hits are his. I also thisnk he showing the cops that he has some self-control by not killing daily. Last Thursday was to prove to them he could take out many people in any one day, but by him slowing down he is showing them that he in control of need to kill and will kill when he feels he needs to prove himself again. You know show his power. I also think he packing alot weapons with him while he is out shooting people. He knows there is a chance that he might be cornered at some point and may have to take out as many as he can before they take him out. This guy will not be caught alive and will make sure of it.
17 posted on 10/11/2002 12:25:33 AM PDT by stlnative
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To: Squantos
Thanks a lot,now I'm really confused and I know I know less than I thought but at least it's a start. :}

If I'm too slow to start getting some book learning,I can always revert to experience and stay dumb and happy,it's carried me this far.

One thing I do know about BB guns and .45 ACP,if hunting rabbits with a cheap Crossman BB gun,a close head shot is nearly mandatory to stop the critter and with the .45 ACP in a 1911 or 1917 model Army revolver,(or even a .357),a head shot is mandatory if you want much left for dinner.

See,some things even I can figure out,I'm maybe not completely stupid.HeHe. :)

18 posted on 10/11/2002 12:29:49 AM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: Travis McGee
And all this from just one shooter.

Trav, what makes you so sure this is just one shooter? To me, this looks like target practice for a bigger deal.
And couldn't that tarot card have been from someone, a woman maybe, who was trying to put out a distress call? Men don't usually deal with tarot as a rule.
At any rate, if it WAS a distress call, that's one less witness for sure. She's dead. And someone within the police establishment leaked it on purpose. Something is not at all right here for one serial sniper.

19 posted on 10/11/2002 12:33:15 AM PDT by Nix 2
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To: PoorMuttly
I agree to both points you make,that's why I hollered at Travis,Squantos and Harpseal,I think they know their stuff.
20 posted on 10/11/2002 12:36:50 AM PDT by Free Trapper
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