Skip to comments.Washington sniper vanishes after signature hits
Posted on 10/13/2002 1:43:35 PM PDT by Tumbleweed_Connection
US police have said they do not want to the muddy waters of an investigation into a sniper who has killed eight people and wounded two by releasing an inaccurate sketch, amid reports the meticulous killer circling the nation's capital has been sighted.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose was asked to comment on reports that the sniper who has electrified the Washington area has been spotted, and police are working on a composite sketch.
Chief Moose, struggling for the right words, said he did not want to "muddy the waters" by releasing an image to the media too soon.
"Please rest assured that when we have something where we are sure that the media can help us we will use that," Moose said.
"The concern is that we pollute the whole thought process, we cause people to have tunnel vision, think they see what they heard on TV and mix that up with reality."
The power of the media has taken center stage in the hunt for the shooter - or shooters, who has used a high-velocity rifle to slam a single bullet into 10 victims since October 2, eluding the largest federal, state and local manhunt in the history of the Washington region.
Chief Moose released a composite image of an older model, mid-sized commercial truck, with light damage to its right rear bumper and black lettering -- a row of large black block letters above a row of smaller letters, on each side.
Chief Moose said the white truck, which has a roll-up door at the rear, was seen at more than one of the shootings by more than one witness and he asked the media to distribute it widely.
He declined to discuss any of the witnesses further.
"None of the witnesses have been able to give us the exact wording" on the truck or its license plate number, Chief Moose said at a news briefing.
The chief said the image is generating new leads.
"Maybe he has had this vehicle repaired," he said, calling on mechanics and body shop workers to think back.
Investigators are working on a sketch of a second vehicle, described as a white Chevrolet Astro van, seen near the latest shooting on Friday, Chief Moose said.
"We're working with a sense of urgency" to get that photo to the public, he said.
Physical evidence has been scant, with one taunting clue apparently left by the shooter near where a 13-year-old victim was shot - a tarot "death" card with the words "dear Mr Policeman, I am God" scrawled on the back.
The cold, methodical killer, who picks off random victims while concealed in a sniper's nest at a comfortable distance, claimed his 10th victim and eighth fatality on Friday.
Kenneth Bridges, 53, a businessman and father of six on the road from Philadelphia, was killed on Friday at an Exxon gasoline station near a busy interstate highway in Virginia.
In a more rural area, their car coming and going, their presence getting to and from the "shoot" are all more likely to draw much more attention than in a highly populated area.
So, if they are cool or "professional" (hte to use that word) enough about it, they are in fact benifited in this kind of operation by higher population density IMHO. All they have to do is conceal the shot from a sound and site perspective ... which they appear to be doing quite well.
I'm in the middle of Volume 2 of your book, just got it this week from Amazon--- Awesome!
Now, leave the man alone so he can finish Volume 3...
Maybe they're afraid people will accidentally kill the wrong person, or they may try to subdue the killer and get hurt. A lot of people would be more than willing to hurt the guy. It may be the wrong guy.
I'd suppose that's why they won't show a scetch. Too many people will be out hunting who have no idea what they're doing.
Sad. If the public were trained, it would be a differant story.
It seems the killing ring seems to be getting bigger. Could there be an ulterior motive for that? And note, there is nothing going on right in D.C. itself. Maybe these killings are just the diversion.
This huge manhunt has tied up just about every available law enforement agent in the area, and they are no doubt getting tired and strung out. What if there were a few more successful hits and then ... a final shooting (or even two or three nearly simultaneously) - still way out in the suburbs and away from D.C., pulling the cops out even further and tying up the roads and promoting chaos.
Then, the primary attack takes place. Except this time it is against a major target in downtown D.C. - like the Capitol, White House or Supreme Court? The reaction of backup security would not be so good, would it, with most of the players and their backup out in the suburbs, an hour or two away. This would give time for the main assault by a large team of killers.
This large assault concept has been pulled before by terrorist groups in Latin American countries, IIRC. Remember, the last plan on 9/11 seemed to have some earmarks a political decapitation was planned.
Just speculating on another possible motive for 'what' and 'why'.
Um, hellooooo? The killer left a card telling every one his identity. God did it. If you think about it - it makes sense. He has access to all the weapons he wants, plenty of time to pick his targets, and he can disappear without a trace. I wonder why they haven't issued an arrest warrent for Him.
BTW, am about 130 pges into Volume III. You're going to love it.
A couple of excerpts from Vol. III on this site ... but wait until you finish Vol. II.
What are the present gun laws in MD?
There are lots of other things the Koran does not permit, but the hijackers certainly violated a bunch of them when they visited lap dance bars just before 9/11.
Only if the tarot card was placed by a hoaxter, a practicioner of the Religion of Peace(TM) wouldn't say that he, himself is God.
I've heard people guess it's a terrorist, or 2 more Columbine-like kids. One lady I know guessed it was another Tim McVeigh type.
I think it's an American grown, whacked out middle aged white guy. I know the media is denying this has racial overtones, but I think it probably does. I don't think teenaged kids would be able to travel those distances, day and night hours, rack up that many miles, without parents or teachers, or friends becoming suspicious.
As for this tall tale about the police not wanting to release a sketch prematurely, I don't buy it. Law enforcement would never hold back a sketch that might alert the public to a particular kind of face, a sketch that could at least cut by half the number of plausible suspects people could watch for. Think about it, not releasing a sketch might cause more lives to be lost, it just doesn't make sense they would hold back.
Law enforcement, probably for good reason, is spinning this yarn. Either they don't have a sketch but want the guy to think they do, or the sketch would alarm the public further, perhaps into thinking it was a racial thing.
I'm just guessing, but I admit, I'm skeptical of what the media is saying and not saying, even more skeptical that law enforcement is telling the truth at these press conferences.
These guys are not "serial" killers in the commonly used sense of the term. They are terrorists, the only question remaining is what flavor.
One simple answer would be: because he didn't see him. If he were in the back of the truck waiting to shoot, he couldn't have seen him. Only the driver had a chance to see him but he saw him too late, his partner had already shot someone. IMO
This guy's schedule of hits - almost all during morning or evening rush hours, and always near major thoroughfares so he's mixed into heavy traffic within a couple of minutes - indicate someone who may have a regular job, and possibly a job involving lots of local traveling. But not the usual commute - last week he traveled nearly an hour to get to Manassas, VA.
Columbus Day being a federal holiday, he might not shoot anyone tomorrow either ... because there won't be the usual rush hour traffic he could lose himself in.
It is very possible that this white truck is a police mistake. Just about every truck like this that comes off the assembly line - of any manufacturer - is plain white, so whatever business buys it can choose whatever paint and lettering they want. An enormous number of these trucks are never painted and stay plain white. My wife and I counted at least 20 in one hour this morning (Sunday) between DC and Rockville, MD. So it's a strong possibility that all these witnesses to the different shootings have each seen a different plain white truck in the vicinity - none of them connected to the sniper - just because there are so many plain white trucks.
That brings me to three maybe's. Either they are jihadists, mercenaries hired by jihadists or, like you say, young thrill killers who have acquired a taste for it. The third option seems to be far fetched simply because they haven't made any mistakes except for one piece of brass that I know of.