There is a chilling

October 4, 2002 10:27 p.m.

There is a chilling, even terrifying story unfolding in Washington, DC, though I don’t know how much play it’s getting outside of this area.

Yesterday morning someone shot and killed five people in the Washington,
DC suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland. Unfortunately, shootouts and
other flurries of violence happen not that infrequently. So that in itself
might not sound so striking. The details tell the story …

To all appearances none of the five had any connection to each other
beside the fact that they were all out in the open Thursday morning in the
area in question. Each was shot dead with a single shot. Police speculate
that the killer used a high-powered rifle. And since police reports don’t
seem to contain any instances of people hearing gunshots or seeing the shooter,
it would seem that the shooter was firing at some distance.

So you have someone on the loose who is apparently a very
good marksman — able to kill five people with single shots at seemingly
great distances and not be seen. The mix of accuracy, stealth, and knowing
where to shoot is unsettling, to put it mildly.

Police now believe that the shooting spree began Wednesday evening
with a single shot through the window of an arts and crafts store in Washington.
Less than an hour later a man walking across a crosswalk at the intersection of Randolph Road and Georgia Avenue was shot dead in a manner similar to that of those killed the next morning in Montgomery County.

From the facts at hand it really sounds like someone who has training
as a sniper, though certainly anyone who was an accomplished marksman could
probably pull it off.

The police are obviously taking this all extremely seriously. But
they don’t seem to have that much to go on. And as you can imagine, if someone
can conceal themselves and shoot from a sufficient distance that no witnesses
can connect the shooter and the victim, it can be really difficult to catch
the guy or even know where to start. Suddenly I’m not feeling so bad that
I’m going to be home working this weekend …

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