Skip to comments.Man shot to death at Virginia gas station; state trooper across street saw nothing
Posted on 10/11/2002 11:40:00 AM PDT by RCW2001
HANK KURZ Jr., Associated Press Writer
Friday, October 11, 2002
©2002 Associated Press
(10-11) 11:32 PDT FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) --
A man was shot to death Friday in a brazen attack carried out at a gas station as a state trooper worked a traffic accident directly across the street.
It wasn't immediately clear if the shooting was linked to nine sniper attacks that have killed seven people and wounded two in the Washington area. As in two of those attacks, witnesses Friday reporting seeing a white van leaving the scene.
The trooper heard the shot at about 9:30 a.m. but only saw the victim, a black man, fall at the Exxon station pumps about 50 yards away, said Maj. Howard Smith of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office. The victim's identity was not released.
"With a uniformed trooper across the street, obviously we're dealing with an individual who is extremely violent and doesn't care," Smith said.
Authorities immediately shut down a stretch of Interstate 95, and they began pulling over white vans after witnesses reported seeing a van with two people driving from the gas station.
Bruce Bingham, who was working at another gas station across the street, said he also heard a single gunshot and saw an unmarked white van at the corner.
"It would be, if you pulled out of the Exxon and tried to make a left to go south on Route 1, it would be right there, the very first vehicle after the stop light," he said.
Authorities said witnesses were giving them descriptions of the men seen inside.
In Washington, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was asked Friday if the attacks could be connected to a terrorist group.
"We don't know if it is or is not," Fleischer said. "Whatever the word you want to use to describe it, this is clearly terrorizing the people who are involved, and their families."
No one is known to have actually seen the triggerman carry out any of the sniper attacks that started more than a week ago in suburban Washington; however, police have been reviewing video surveillance tapes from the shooting scenes, all public places.
Friday morning, Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief Charles Moose said a special projects unit of the FBI was working "with a sense of urgency" on a graphic aid to be distributed to the public in the search for the sniper. He and FBI officials declined to describe the graphic, but said it would be clear later Friday.
Authorities haven't said if surveillance tapes from Wednesday night's attack, at a gas station in Manassas, held any clues.
A 53-year-old civil engineer traveling from his job in Virginia to his home in Gaithersburg, Md., was killed after pumping gas just off Interstate 66.
Like the other victims, Dean Meyers was felled by a single shot from a high-power rifle. Police said ballistic evidence linked Meyers' death to the sniper.
"This is crazy. It's too close to home," Michelle Rhoades, 19, of Triangle said Thursday night as she stopped at a gas station in Woodbridge, about 15 minutes from where Meyers was killed.
She said she didn't want to live in fear but admitted she had been scanning the area around her for any place a sniper might hide.
Meyers' death in Prince William County broadened the scope of an investigation that has frightened residents in suburbs surrounding the nation's capital and has strained police in two states and the District of Columbia.
The shootings, including one Monday that critically wounded a 13-year-old boy outside his school in Bowie, Md., have led schools across the region to cancel field trips and outdoor activities, and residents have been modifying their shopping habits to avoid danger.
Bebi Tasawar, the mother of three working in a glass-fronted 7-Eleven, said she was afraid to come to work knowing the sniper had been within 10 miles of her store. It didn't help, she said, that the parking lot was unlit and that the store is next to thick woods.
"When we throw the trash out, we're looking around. It's scary," she said. "You don't know when you walk out the door what will happen next. He could be watching us right now."
Just across the parking lot at a Sheetz gas station, Jerry Hughes continually shuffled around his car.
"I figure he's shooting at targets that are not moving, so if he wants to keep shooting at gas stations, I'll keep moving until my gas is pumped," the 42-year-old Hughes said.
A toll-free hot line set up to accept tips was overwhelmed by calls Thursday. Police were advising callers getting busy signals to keep calling. Additional phone lines were being installed.
Still, police were deliberately vague about their evidence and leads.
"It's a difficult case but we are developing more information as the minutes go by," Prince William County Police Chief Charlie Deane said Thursday.
Manassas is about 35 miles southwest of the Maryland suburbs where most of the attacks happened. Meyers' shooting was the second in Virginia. A woman was wounded by the sniper last Friday in Fredericksburg, 30 miles south of Manassas.
Police in yellow slickers walked shoulder to shoulder Thursday through a drizzling rain, looking for evidence near where Meyers was shot. Deane did not say whether they had found anything, but said there had been no communication from the killer.
At the site of Monday's shooting, police found a tarot death card with the taunting words, "Dear policeman, I am God" near a bullet shell.
©2002 Associated Press
Ah, the man was shot by a sniper. How many of these do we have outside of the recent series of sniper attacks? Can we safely say this was related? I think so. I think the two men shot with another gun were also victims of the same sniper(s).
I have a question. Do we have an environmental whacko on the loose here? Many of these people have been shot at gas stations. All have been shot right next to their cars. There are places where you can shoot folks in public that are not right next to their cars. Just a thought.
Limited skill, despite the carnage he has managed to create. Ought ta get a real squad of snipers set up to take him down. Not as insane as it sounds considering the area he seems to be staying in. 20-30 2-man teams rotating areas every couple of days. Cover populated areas that the rogue seems to be targeting.
Should be able to bring him down within a week or so.
No. One was mowing the lawn, one was sitting on a bench, and the first victim (not counting the potential liquor store employee) was walking from the grocery store into the parking lot.
This really shouldn't surprise anyone.
One time, I was just pulling into a parking space at an area at a local mall, when it had just opened, when I saw a man kind of running from the entrance. About ten seconds later, three Arab guys who owned a jewlry store came running out too. They ran across the parking lot, into a wooded area, right through the line of vision of a cop sitting in his car, facing them perpendicular. A small crowd then came out, as did a few employees who started walking about 100 yards to wherethe cop was. He finally drove up to the front of the mall and asked "what's wrong?". I Said, "You didn't see that guy run by, with three people chasing him?". He said "No. I saw these kids here"(who had just walked out to see what was happening, and the cop decided to harass them). He never saw it. I bet he was sleeping. No other way. If he was awake and looking in any direction, except behind him, he would have to had seen it.
I gave the cops a good description, left and drove around areas I though he may have run to. Didn't find him. I was wearing some slip-on deck shoes, and would have had no chance of catching the guy even if I had gottn out of my truck and chased him when I first saw him. I was afraid to pull out my gun and tell him to get down with a cop around(who I was sure must be seeing what was happening). Cops are not always aware of what is going on around them. It wouldn't have surprised me if there had been five cops nearby when the sniper shot.
This may already be happening, and of course, they wont say. There is probably a good chance that the killer(s) may have already pre-selected target locations. If so, the sniper may just be driving around, from place to place, seeing which one is safe at that time, and takes a shot. That seems more likely than someone completely randomly selecting locations at the spur of the moment.
It's not clear that there was another gun. The published reports only say the bullets were too fragmented to make any determination.
Then consider this. He stated that, "I am God." Gotta tell ya, if you think like an ecco freak, that could mean that he is acting as God's hand, desiminating justice as if by His will.
Just think what these users of carbon emitting vehicles are doing to mother nature! Have they been judged and found wanting? If so, expect this guy to get the same treatment as the Uni-Bomber. Oh he's a poor fellow who meant well. We can't give him the McVeigh treatment...
Hey, it's a thought.
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