Skip to comments.This time, sniper left clues - Witness reports seeing man fire fatal shot at latest victim
Posted on 10/16/2002 6:56:18 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
This time, sniper left clues
Witness reports seeing man fire fatal shot at latest victim
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - The roving sniper left more clues after Monday night's killing, with a number of witnesses getting a better, more chilling glimpse of him and his getaway van as they looked beyond his latest victim bleeding to death on the parking garage floor.
One government official described the closest, most stark sighting yet by a witness who reported seeing the gunman step brazenly from his van - about 90 feet from Linda Franklin and her husband, Ted, as they loaded shelving into their car - fire and then flee.
The slaying at Home Depot was the first time that witnesses said they saw the actual shooting, police officials said. Witnesses offered enough partial glimpses of the fleeing sniper to allow a police sketch artist to attempt a composite drawing, according to knowledgeable detectives.
A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said another witness gave a description of a dark-skinned man, possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern, in a white van.
Also for the first time, witnesses were able to give information about license plates on vehicles seen fleeing the scene, including a light-colored Chevrolet Astro van with a burned-out rear taillight and a roof rack.
Police released two composite images of a van that witnesses say they saw Friday near a Spotsylvania County, Va., gas station where a Philadelphia man was fatally shot. Although the images are of different makes - one an Astro van and the other a Ford Econoline, each with a ladder rack on the roof - authorities said that only one vehicle was seen and that eyewitnesses gave different accounts of the brand.
Law enforcement sources said there was no indication the sniper targeted Ms. Franklin because of her job as an intelligence operations specialist in the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center. Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief Charles Moose, who is heading the investigation, emphasized that Ms. Franklin was not working on the sniper case.
Ballistics evidence Tuesday connected Ms. Franklin's slaying to the gunman who has killed eight other people and wounded two since Oct. 2.
With the terrifying spree nearly two weeks old, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agreed Tuesday evening to provide military surveillance aircraft in the hunt for the killer, a Pentagon spokesman said. Sources said federal agents on the plane will relay any information they collect to authorities on the ground. More than half a dozen agencies already are working on the case.
The Army also has started searching its records for people with sniper training.
Separately, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said investigators are hesitant to rule out the possibility that the slayings are the work of a terrorist because there is no hard evidence about motive.
Robert Young, a Washington construction worker, returned to the shopping center Tuesday to talk with police. He said he had heard a muffled gunshot and saw a white van the night before.
Mr. Young said that as he backed his truck out of his parking spot, a white Astro van with two men inside tried to turn into his lane. He said the driver appeared very agitated to find his way blocked and instead drove by a neighboring restaurant and out of sight.
Mr. Young, who said he got a good look at the driver, described him as a short man of slight build who appeared to be Middle Eastern.
All the victims have been cut down by a single bullet fired from a distance with a high-powered rifle as they went about their everyday tasks. The sniper's only apparent communication with investigators has been a tarot death card inscribed, "Dear Policeman, I am God."
Chief Moose said there appeared to be similarities between the van seen at Friday's shooting and the van from Monday night's attack. Fairfax County Police Chief Tom Manger would not say whether witnesses to the latest attack were able to give complete license plate numbers to investigators.
"Each shooting has revealed more to this investigation. We're encouraged every day," said Michael Bouchard, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The sniper escaped a huge dragnet around Falls Church, 10 miles west of the nation's capital. Traffic was backed up for miles as police surrounded and searched dozens of white vans.
Tod Burke, a former Maryland police officer who teaches criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia, said the killer is either escaping before the dragnet comes down or has some kind of hideout where he can watch the chaos that erupts.
Meanwhile, the tension has climbed steadily in the Washington suburbs. On Tuesday, the flood of tips, many of them false alarms from edgy residents, prompted Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening to ban outdoor shooting in four Washington-area counties.
Outside the Home Depot, shoppers tentatively returned while officers made a last sweep for evidence and towed the victim's red convertible away.
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His M.O appears quite different. Further, while it is a possibility that the targeting of an FBI profiler could be random chance, it is also possible that this woman was wanted dead for some other reason, by other people.
Now we know why the Dept. of Defense is now interested.
So much for CNN's profile.
The perps want the whole world to realise this is part of a Jihad, and they want credit for it.
Of course thats IMHO,; everyone else thinks its a lone white guy, who drinks to much beer, and lives in a trailer.
I agree. I've had the feeling that this one isn't connected since the moment it happened.
Do you suppose anyone in the media has the guts to ask Ms. Kennedy-Townsend whether the world would be a better place right now if that witness had been carrying a concealed weapon and knew how to use it?
If this is true then it is possible that this series of events is over.
If this was a terrorist event it may well have been a test of our defensive capabilities against this type of attack.
The US FAILED that test. This "War of the Suburbs" was fought within close proximity to our National Seat of Power.
Or they will move it somewhere else.
Tests have already confirmed that the same gun was used as in the other murders which left a bullet that could be analyzed.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that thos perpetrator is the same person as before.
Of course! He only matches the profile by 99%. We must have 200% in order for us to feel right.
I beg your pardon?
It doesn't cost anything and only takes one minute to register. All you need is an
e-mail address, FRiend. And I posted the full article, btw.....
They could train other cells and do many locations at once say during the Christmas season.
Thanks! Always wondered what the password was! ;o)
There's a "war" going on in the newspaper/usability universe over linking obstructions, and the paper you cited has one of the worst policies, requiring pointless registration and then forcing you to go though a main page before getting to the desired story.
The biteme/biteme is a common technique across many sites that folks use to tweak the web design teams' noses.
I meant no disrespect toward you whatsoever, and apologize if I offended.
The other theory is that these guys are smart, and know that the more evidence that they leave, the more chance they have of getting caught.Just because its a Jihad, does not mean they all want to die for allah. These guys may be payed for what they are doing.
I thought they had said the ballistics were conclusive?
So they say. The FBI says he doesn't exist, but the seven witnesses they ordered to keep their mouths shut say otherwise.
Folks on this thread have a lot of catching up to do. The monday night shooting had eyewitnesses. The weapon has been identified as a Chinese made AK-74. It's the same weapon used in at least 5 other shootings (the rest are assumed to be the same). The perp was middle eastern in appearance, according to three witnesses. He got into a white van and drove away. He was seen crossing the interstate median to avoid the roadblocks. the witness to this got a partial licence plate number. There's more, but I'm out of breath.
At least get up to speed on the other threads before repeating week-old theories.
They said that in the JFK assassination and the Martin Luther King murder too. Sometimes they lie, including times when their purposes would be better served by the actual facts. But once they come up with an *official version*, they stick with it.
Who said anything about a AK-74? It isn't a very accurate rifle from what I've heard..
Lots of stuff on last night's threads. I'm not the expert.
Yeah, I use the DMN quite a bit. I get annoyed at their popup ads all the time.
I hope they catch these jerks, and soon.......
But to the serious stuff: The radio says the police have not produced a rendering of the suspect because the descriptions vary so much.
This tell me there are more than 1, more than 2. I think they'll find 3 or more of these guys. And I think it'll be very soon. (just a gut feel there).
There are several conflicting 2nd and 3rd hand "witness accounts" floating about, but this one is demonstrably false.
The shooting took place at approximately 09:15:00. The 911 call was received at 09:19:00. Four police cars were on the scene by 09:21:52 (the first at 09:20:44). The roadblocks did not go up until approximately 09:30:00. At the time immediately after the shooting, and for at least 15 minutes thereafter, there were no roadblocks on Rt. 50.
We can say with some certainty that they didn't just sit there for 15 minutes, with a parking lot full of police only yards away.
Second, if he was in the access road (not detailed in any witness account, but in my view likely), there is a 15-foot grass median between that and Rt. 50. Then, there is a second median between the east and west sides of Rt. 50. Which median was he seen crossing? One? Both?
Crossing one would send them eastbound on Rt. 50. Crossing both would send them westbound. There are other "witness" accounts saying they went east, or that they went west. Which of these is true or accurate?
Until the police release an account of actual eyewitness reports, nothing should be taken as gospel. The newsies are propagating dribs and drabs of "witness reports" which are either in direct conflict or which make no logical sense, as above.