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Police confirm sniper link in Va. slaying - Investigator is sure info will "lead us to an arrest"
Associated Press ^ | October 15, 2002 | Associated Press Staff

Posted on 10/15/2002 7:13:36 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP


Police confirm sniper link in Va. slaying

10/15/2002

Associated Press

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Ballistic evidence conclusively links the death of a woman shot in the head in a suburban parking lot with eight other killings by a Washington-area sniper, authorities said Tuesday.

Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington was shot Monday night as she and her husband loaded packages into their car outside a Home Depot at the Seven Corners Shopping Center, Fairfax County Police Chief Tom Manger said.

*
AP
An Arlington County (Va.) police officer secures the perimeter of the crime scene.

Some witnesses were able to give police license plate numbers of vehicles seen leaving the scene, he said.

"There was some additional information that we were able to get from last night's case and I am confident that that information is going to lead us to an arrest in the case," he said.

Police closed highways around Falls Church, about 10 miles west of the nation's capital after the shooting, and said they were on the lookout for a Chevrolet Astro van that had a burned-out left rear tail light and had a chrome ladder on its roof. The highways were reopened in time for rush hour.

"There are a fair number of ways to leave the area," Manger said.

The shooting spree that has terrorized residents in the Washington area began Oct. 2 in Montgomery County, Md. With Monday's shooting, the toll has grown to nine people killed and two seriously wounded in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

"Ballistic evidence has conclusively linked this case to the other murders in the area," Manger said.

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, who is leading the task force investing the shootings, was on the scene of the latest shooting.

Manger declined to confirm reports about a specific description of a possible suspect, saying only that several people contacted police after the shooting and that investigators were still interviewing them.

"We have been receiving quite a bit of information from witnesses," Manger said. "Information is always the key in solving cases like this."

Monday's killing occurred at one of northern Virginia's busiest intersections, where major arteries come together to form seven corners. Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler who lives in Fredericksburg, Va., said the location sets the slaying apart from the others.

"This is not bold, this is brazen," he said. "It's a much more highly congested area, even under the cover of darkness."

Kristin Reed, a supervisor at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the sprawling strip mall, said six employees were locked inside the store for a time with an FBI agent.

"Cops and cops and more cops," Reed said of the scene outside. Shopper Raymond Massas said he "heard one shot. Not very loud, like a snap. After that I heard people start panicking."

Two police helicopters circled the scene as bystanders looked on.

"It hasn't been this frightening since 9/11," said Bob Bakley as he stared across Route 50.

Added Abdel Elkheshisn: "We thought, 'It's in Maryland. It's not here, it's far away."

The sniper had shot 10 people in all in the killing spree that began Oct. 2. On Friday morning, a 53-year-old Philadelphia man was gunned down in Spotsylvania County, Va., as he pumped gas. The killer had gone two straight weekends without an attack.

Earlier Monday, the longest lull yet in the Washington sniper's killing spree brought little relief as jittery residents flooded police with calls upon hearing car backfire, firecrackers or breaking glass.

"Everyone is edgy," said Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, who is heading the investigation. "People are hearing things that may normally be overlooked."

President Bush said the "cold-blooded" attacks have made him sick to his stomach. "I weep for those who have lost their loved ones," he said. "The idea of moms taking their kids to school and sheltering them from a potential sniper attack is not the America that I know."

Four police squad cars rushed to a Silver Spring car dealership Monday after the window of a customer's BMW shattered when he closed the door. The man dialed 911, thinking a bullet broke the glass.

"He had no idea what happened - he was just freaked out," said David Earhardt, the dealership's service manager.

"People hear a noise, they're going to call - they want to put an end to this just like we do," said Prince William County, Va., Detective Dennis Mangan, whose department brought in a helicopter to search the woods before determining a reported gunshot was just a car backfiring.

Authorities in Baltimore, meanwhile, seized a white van and found an assault rifle, sniper manual and ammunition similar to the .223 bullets used in attacks that have killed eight people and wounded two others, WBAL-TV reported.

MSNBC reported that a tarot card was found in the van and a sign on the dashboard read "Gihad in America." A tarot card was also found at one of the shootings.

The van's owner was questioned Monday night by police and released with no charges filed.

"At this time, the task force believes this is not related to our sniper incidents," said Louise Marthens, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.

Profilers said a long break could suggest the sniper was trying to outsmart police and change routine.

"Falling into a pattern is falling into a trap," said Robert K. Ressler, a former FBI profiler who helped investigators track killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer. "People this deep into aberrant behavior aren't just going to hang it up and call it quits."

Many schools in the region remained under lockdown Monday, meaning outdoor recess and physical education classes were canceled, and students were kept indoors all day.

"I'm looking around for every white van I see," said Richard Spears, who was mowing grass at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg, Va. "It makes you a little leery."

Moose said people can now write as well as call with their tips. He gave an address: P.O. Box 7875, Gaithersburg, Md., 20898-7875.

Federal and local investigators refuse to discuss any details of the manhunt. But they have logged some consistencies: the killer favors suburban gas stations; takes down each victim with a single bullet; and, judging from the tarot card left at one of the shootings, appears to enjoy taunting police. It read: "Dear Policeman, I am God."


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/nation/stories/101502dnnatsniper.3d789.html


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: beltwaysniper; maryland; snipermurderer; virginia; washingtondc

1 posted on 10/15/2002 7:13:36 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: All

Slightest slip-up by sniper could reveal identity

10/15/2002

By MARY ANN RAZZUK / WFAA-TV

With every new shooting incident, authorities expect to collect shreds of evidence or information that might bring them closer to identifying the sniper terrorizing the Washington, D.C. area.

However, the suspect could bring about a quicker resolution with just one small mistake.

Veteran Mansfield police detective Mark Malcom said authorities are likely looking for small errors as they narrow their list of possible suspects.

Also Online
Video: Mary Ann Razzuk reports
Related: Woman dead in Virginia shooting
"We had a homicide here in Mansfield one time where the suspect was caught with a single thumbprint at the scene," Malcom said. "A lot of times they are caught because they make mistakes, and a lot of times they're caught because they start talking about the crime."

Naval Academy cadet Diane Zamora confided to roommates, who later went to police, that she and her Air Force Academy boyfriend killed a girl in Tarrant County who she thought was trying to come between them. Prior to her dorm-room confession, the case went unsolved for nearly a year.

No matter how skilled a criminal, authorities said there are almost always some behavioral changes that give them away.

"They become in an increased state of paranoia," Malcom said. "They will act strange around their family because they're always trying to hide something. Anytime you go out and do something like that, you're always living with a lie."

Texas prison escapee Larry Harper lied about his identity, alleged involvement with six convicts, and the murder of an Irving police officer. However, the emotional comfort he sought with a Colorado bible study group gave members enough opportunity to detect an unusual facial skin mole and religious personality profile, which police said helped them identify the suspect.

"Those two factors in combination led us to believe immediately we had the right individual," said fugitive hunter John Moriarty.

Moriarty led the more than month-long nationwide investigation that generated more than 4,000 leads from the public.

"Some of them seem so insignificant, but could be the one that turns the case," Moriarty said.

One such clue could be the white box truck that a witness in the Washington area recalled speeding away from one of the sniper shooting sites. The vehicle description and a bullet fragment recovered will be traced back to manufacturers and dealers, who might help authorities attach a name or face to the suspect.

Despite the evidence and hundreds of tips, however, the sniper's identity apparently remains a mystery - for now.


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/nation/stories/wfaa021014_am_sniperinvestigation.bda3b1f0.html

2 posted on 10/15/2002 7:16:32 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
Some witnesses were able to give police license plate numbers of vehicles seen leaving the scene, he said.

"There was some additional information that we were able to get from last night's case and I am confident that that information is going to lead us to an arrest in the case," he said.


Thank goodness.
3 posted on 10/15/2002 7:17:08 AM PDT by summer
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To: summer
I hope they nab him quick. On a gurney or body bag would be fine.
4 posted on 10/15/2002 7:23:16 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
On a gurney or body bag would be fine

Only it is a loner. If part of a group, as I suspect, we need him alive so we can teach him how to SING. (chirp, chirp, chirp...)

5 posted on 10/15/2002 7:28:51 AM PDT by bankwalker
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To: summer
I find it hard to believe that this guy would keep good plate on the van when doing the deed.
6 posted on 10/15/2002 7:29:29 AM PDT by TBall
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To: TBall
Well, we'll see.
7 posted on 10/15/2002 7:37:59 AM PDT by summer
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To: bankwalker
The problem will then be the liberal left lawyers will save him, 'cause his a victim... had poor childhood... comes from a broken home.... whine-whine-whine.

This guy is a terrorist.
Notice there isn't one lawyer, not a single one among his list of victims. /sarcasm

8 posted on 10/15/2002 7:38:02 AM PDT by A. Morgan
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To: TBall
I find it hard to believe that this guy would keep good plate on the van when doing the deed.

I find it hard to believe that the murderous coward would keep using the same vehicle or two. He's screaming to get caught. I just pray to God the authorities accommodate him sooner rather than later.

God bless Mrs. Franklin and her family.

9 posted on 10/15/2002 7:45:58 AM PDT by Coop
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To: Coop
I agree, I think this guy has been lucky and I pray he is caught very soon.
10 posted on 10/15/2002 7:57:51 AM PDT by TBall
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To: MeeknMing
"This is not bold, this is brazen," he said. "It's a much more highly congested area,
even under the cover of darkness."


I'm kind of suprised that the perp got to drive away without being followed or having
his/her vehicle rammed by some citizen-witness.
(Of course, such might have happened and the cops are being mum.)

I know these are unsettling incidents, but I suspect that if this had happened in a
parking garage in Texas or Oklahoma, the perp would have gathered a convoy of
armed citizens while trying to flee.
At the least someone would follow the perp and phone in info. to the police...and
it wouldn't be suprising if the perp ended up meeting superior firepower from the citizens...
and might end up praying for the cops to get there and save him.
11 posted on 10/15/2002 8:09:35 AM PDT by VOA
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To: MeeknMing
It's being reported on another thread that victim Linda Franklin is an FBI agent.
12 posted on 10/15/2002 8:16:01 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: VOA
"I know these are unsettling incidents, but I suspect that if this had happened in a parking garage in Texas or Oklahoma, the perp would have gathered a convoy of armed citizens while trying to flee."

I agree. We have had 'citizen arrests' around here like you describe.

13 posted on 10/15/2002 8:17:12 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
If the van is booby-trapped with explosives, such a citizens' arrest would kill fewer law enforcement people, but it might kill more civilians.
14 posted on 10/15/2002 8:18:37 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: MeeknMing
Texas prison escapee Larry Harper lied about his identity, alleged involvement with six convicts, and the murder of an Irving police officer. However, the emotional comfort he sought with a Colorado bible study group gave members enough opportunity to detect an unusual facial skin mole and religious personality profile, which police said helped them identify the suspect.

religious profiling ---- hey wait a minute!

15 posted on 10/15/2002 8:19:19 AM PDT by Revelation 911
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To: MeeknMing
Authorities in Baltimore, meanwhile, seized a white van and found an assault rifle, sniper manual and ammunition similar to the .223 bullets used in attacks that have killed eight people and wounded two others, WBAL-TV reported.

MSNBC reported that a tarot card was found in the van and a sign on the dashboard read "Gihad in America." A tarot card was also found at one of the shootings.

The van's owner was questioned Monday night by police and released with no charges filed.

WTF?!

16 posted on 10/15/2002 8:24:36 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: MeeknMing
Authorities in Baltimore, meanwhile, seized a white van and found an assault rifle, sniper manual and ammunition similar to the .223 bullets used in attacks that have killed eight people and wounded two others, WBAL-TV reported. MSNBC reported that a tarot card was found in the van and a sign on the dashboard read "Gihad in America." A tarot card was also found at one of the shootings. The van's owner was questioned Monday night by police and released with no charges filed.

Uhhh...what? Am I missing something here? This sounds like a "person of interest" to me.

17 posted on 10/15/2002 8:25:59 AM PDT by American Soldier
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To: Aquinasfan
WTF?!

Yesterday's news. Had FR going for a while, though. Couple thousand posts.

18 posted on 10/15/2002 8:32:09 AM PDT by js1138
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To: MeeknMing
"People this deep into aberrant behavior aren't just going to hang it up and call it quits."

I hope they are not as committed to the "lone whacko" theory as this quote might indicate, and are giving equal consideration to the idea that a terrorist cell is responsible. If it is terrorists behind this, then the behavior is not aberrant at all - It is a perfectly rational, albeit illegal and immoral, military operation against civilians, intended to sow terror in the nation's capitol.

19 posted on 10/15/2002 8:48:34 AM PDT by LouD
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To: A. Morgan
"Notice there isn't one lawyer, not a single one among his list of victims. /sarcasm"

He probably never read Shakespeare.
20 posted on 10/15/2002 9:02:27 AM PDT by RipSawyer
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To: MeeknMing
I'm wondering if the white truck/van is a red herring. If the sightings were coincidental, and it is not actually associated with the sniper, then the terrorist group theory gains credence.

Here's why: I'm certain they've got a lot of video surveillance footage from highway cams, and a number of parking lots and other areas near the crime scenes. They've certainly examined them to see if the same vehicles turn up near multiple scenes. If it is one lone whacko, he likely only has access to a small number of vehicles; Hence, they should be closing in on him, based upon multiple sightings of the same vehicle(s).

On the other hand, if there are no commonalities, then the sniper (or maybe snipers) are using a lot of different vehicles. That would require a considerable support infrastructure of people to provide vehicles and other logistical support. That would not be indicative of one nutcase, but a well organized, well-funded terrorist operation.

21 posted on 10/15/2002 9:02:49 AM PDT by LouD
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To: bankwalker
Why "a group." What kind of "group" comes up with an idea like this? To me, the senselessness of it, the boldness, the brazeness, points to a single insane person who has no rhyme or reason to his actions.
22 posted on 10/15/2002 9:02:58 AM PDT by Illbay
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To: Aquinasfan
The owner of that ven should have been arrested on charges of being too stupid to live in society!
23 posted on 10/15/2002 9:19:29 AM PDT by M. T. Cicero II
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To: aristeides
"An FBI agent is the latest victim of the Washington-area sniper, and investigators said Tuesday they were confident that detailed witness accounts from the scene will lead them to the person who has now killed nine people. Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington, was shot in the head Monday night outside a Home Depot in Falls Church, Va."
http://www.dallasnews.com
24 posted on 10/15/2002 9:25:42 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: LouD
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/769460/posts
25 posted on 10/15/2002 9:32:15 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: VOA
I'm kind of suprised that the perp got to drive away without being followed or having his/her vehicle rammed by some citizen-witness.

Would you ram a vehicle occupied by an armed killer who has just shot someone? Even if I'm armed I would likely not do that.

Following the vehicle is questionable as there may be a driver AND gunman who just might fire on anyone suspected of trailing them. No easy decisions here, especially for civilians.

26 posted on 10/15/2002 9:39:22 AM PDT by toddst
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To: toddst
"I'm kind of suprised that the perp got to drive away without being followed or having his/her vehicle rammed by some citizen-witness.
Would you ram a vehicle occupied by an armed killer who has just shot someone? Even if I'm armed I would likely not do that.

Following the vehicle is questionable as there may be a driver AND gunman who just might fire on anyone suspected of trailing them. No easy decisions here, especially for civilians. "

Yeah, and not many people would get up en masse and rush terrorists in an airplane either.....

Its just a matter of the sheep deciding that they have had enough and to start acting like WOLVES.
27 posted on 10/15/2002 9:55:28 AM PDT by Bulldog1967
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To: Bulldog1967
Yeah, and not many people would get up en masse and rush terrorists in an airplane either.....

Its just a matter of the sheep deciding that they have had enough and to start acting like WOLVES.

Sir, I'm enthusiastic about pursuit of these monsters. However, following them as a civilian alone, knowing they are armed killers would take me well beyond being brave and into sacrificing myself with no certainty the killers would be caught. I'm likely to end up dead, is all.

Please, if you spot these monsters be my guest and follow them.

28 posted on 10/15/2002 10:16:06 AM PDT by toddst
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To: toddst
I think this "close to an arrest" stuff is mainly to keep the sheople calm.
29 posted on 10/15/2002 10:19:33 AM PDT by Callahan
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To: toddst
Heck, I'd do it just to test out my airbags at 150mph. Or my wife's 6 ton truck at 90, depends on the circumstance. It might kill me, but then again, it might get me on a made-for-TV movie. I could see myself being played by Ed Norton, maybe. LOL! I have no brains, if that's what you're wondering
30 posted on 10/15/2002 10:27:42 AM PDT by Cobra Scott
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To: Callahan
I think this "close to an arrest" stuff is mainly to keep the sheople calm.

I think you're right. From what I see the "authorities" are no closer to the shooter(s) than was true before yesterday's killing. The guy(s) got away clean.

31 posted on 10/15/2002 10:46:35 AM PDT by toddst
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To: VOA
.....it wouldn't be suprising if the perp ended up meeting superior firepower from the citizens...and might end up praying for the cops to get there and save him.

whut perp you talkin' 'bout??.....LOL !!

Citizen involvement is exactly what is needed here, you're right ! On FOX News just a little bit ago, they were discussing a suggestion that if you're at the scene when this kind of thing happens to look in the direction from where the shots came from, not at the victim. I thought that was a bit cold - because sometimes seconds count in a life-and-death life-saving situation - but they have a valid point too. It hasn't happened yet, but this guy could take a shot at someone rendering aid to one of his victims.......

32 posted on 10/15/2002 12:34:20 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: aristeides
Yes, it's confirmed she was with the FBI.....
33 posted on 10/15/2002 12:35:01 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: toddst
We know these guys are careful only to fire one shot. I'm not sure a witness following them to get a closer look would be in that much danger. And if there were two of them...
34 posted on 10/15/2002 12:40:39 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: MeeknMing
Yes, it's confirmed she was with the FBI.....

But it turns out she was an FBI intelligence analyst, not an agent.

35 posted on 10/15/2002 12:42:26 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: American Soldier
It surely does sound like a person of interest with one exception......they interviewed the guy last night and another person was killed last night. Not enough time to do the job after he had been questioned.
36 posted on 10/15/2002 12:43:00 PM PDT by irish guard
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To: LouD
I'm certain they've got a lot of video surveillance footage from highway cams, and a number of parking lots and other areas near the crime scenes.....

Yep. I hear they are working hard on viewing all of them too. It's funny, isn't it? - they caught that Gypsy woman beating her 4 year old baby on camera in the Wal-Mart parking lot, but not this creep. Of all the luck, huh? That story went right to the back burner with this one taking it's place now.....

37 posted on 10/15/2002 12:44:52 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: aristeides
True. That's what FOX News reports......
38 posted on 10/15/2002 12:46:13 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: irish guard
I think you're assuming the cell only has one member.
39 posted on 10/15/2002 12:48:34 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: toddst
I'd follow him. For sure.
40 posted on 10/15/2002 12:56:12 PM PDT by kjam22
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To: toddst
No easy decisions here, especially for civilians.

No disagreement on that.
I guess I'm just a little suprised that when these have happened in Virginia,
which I understand is a concealed-carry state, that there hasn't been at least one
citizen even just follow the perp(s).
I'm not ragging on the citizens...and honestly don't know if I'd have the courage
(or impetuousness) to take action.

I'd probably be cowering until I heard the police sirens.

But the shooter(s) has made a smart move in spreading terror without totally scaring people.
So far at each scene, one person is killed.
So if a citizen in on the scene and sees a victim go down, all they need to do is
sit until the cops arrive.
It's almost like being in a herd of gazelle...you can probably breath a bit of
a sigh of relief once the lions have claimed their finite kill for the day...
and you're still alive.

If the shooter(s) were taking out four or five people at a time...I wonder if some folks
might be more provoked...as in "they're probably gonna kill me, I might as well
take a chance..."

All in all, this will probably provide grist for about a thousand PhD theses in
forensic psychology, game theory and other fields of academia...
41 posted on 10/15/2002 1:20:06 PM PDT by VOA
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To: MeeknMing
On FOX News just a little bit ago, they were discussing a suggestion that if you're
at the scene when this kind of thing happens to look in the direction from where the
shots came from, not at the victim.


People should be told to carry a disposable camera (Kodak, Fuji, whatever)
no flash so a photo can be taken discretely, albeit in daylight/twilight.
And ONCE THE SHOOTER is back in the vehicle...and if a citizen can discretely do it
(in case there is a companion vehicle)...take a photo of the vehicle as it pulls away.

Sure, this might entail a little risk...but maybe this would get crucial, hard info.
And help overcome the fallibility of the eyewitness recollection.

Oh, if I own any Kodak stock...it's buried somewhere in my mutual funds....
42 posted on 10/15/2002 1:44:22 PM PDT by VOA
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To: MeeknMing
this guy could take a shot at someone rendering aid to one of his victims.......

I doubt that...just a wild guess.

That's because I have a theory that either accidentally or on purpose...this shooter(s)
only shoots one person per site...partly to get away.
But s/he may know that the other citizens in the area know that they are unlikely
to be shot...this guy only takes out one person at a time...and then leaves.

I'm sure some professor in "game theory" has a fancy name for this sort of
unspoken bargain between the shooter and all the people s/he doesn't shoot.
43 posted on 10/15/2002 1:47:59 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Coop
I wonder about him using the same vehicle, but perhaps he isn't. Maybe there are two vehicles, the van is a decoy while the shooter is in another car. The van drives away and even if stopped they would find nothing, then the shooter and his car simple drive off in another direction. Perhaps the shooter simply gets out of his car and goes up and watches the crime scene as others do, maybe even talking with the police himself.

I wonder why they are not stopping every vehicle.

44 posted on 10/15/2002 1:54:38 PM PDT by annieokie
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To: irish guard
No I agree with you on that. I mean this sounds like the sort of person who ought to be, oh I dunno, kept sleepless for days at a time and spoken to at some length by spooky men with dark glasses, bad tempers, and polygraph machines.
45 posted on 10/15/2002 3:07:03 PM PDT by American Soldier
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