Posted 6:58 p.m. Oct. 15
by Bernadette Simpao
U-WIRE (DC BUREAU)
(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – The fatal shooting of an Arlington, Va., woman Monday night has been “conclusively linked” to the series of sniper shootings that have claimed nine lives and injured two others in the Washington, D.C., area since Oct. 2, Fairfax County Police Chief Thomas Manger said this morning.
Linda Franklin, 47, an FBI analyst of Arlington, was struck and killed by a single bullet outside a Home Depot store around 9:15 p.m. Monday night, in a busy shopping center located near two main thoroughfares in the Arlington area. Manger said she was fatally shot just after she arrived at her car with her shopping bags.
Ellen Qualls, press secretary for Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, reported that Franklin’s husband was with her at the time of the shooting.
Authorities said Tuesday that they are working with witnesses and might be able to produce a sketch of a man who seemed suspicious at the scene, as well as license plate information of a van seen in the area.
“There was some additional information that we were able to get from last night’s case,” said Manger. “I am confident that ultimately, that information is going to lead us to an arrest in this case.” Manger met with Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose and members of the sniper task force Tuesday to coordinate information in the case.
Based on witness accounts, police broadcast a lookout for a light-colored Chevy Astro van with a left tail light out and a silver ladder rack on top. A similar vehicle was seen by witnesses after the sniper struck Friday morning in Fredericksburg, Va.
Monday night’s shooting took place in Fairfax County, Va., about six miles from the District, the closet attack to the metropolitan area thus far. Other shootings took place in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, in Spotsylvania and Prince William counties in Virginia, and in Washington.
Each victim seems to have been shot at random, and all were shot only once, leading authorities to deem these acts sniper attacks. Authorities have determined that the sniper is using a .223-caliber rifle.
The shootings began Oct. 2 when a shot was fired through a window at another Michaels craft store, in Wheaton, Md., but did not hit anyone.
The first murder happened at 6:05 p.m. on Oct. 2, when 55-year-old James D. Martin was shot in the parking lot of Shoppers Food Warehouse in Wheaton.
The second shooting occurred at 7:41 a.m. Oct. 3, when James L. Buchanan, 39 and the son of a retired Montgomery County police officer, was shot while mowing a lawn off Rockville Pike, a main thoroughfare in Montgomery County.
Prenkumar Walekar, a 54-year-old taxi driver, was killed while pumping gas at a Mobil station in Wheaton. A caller reported his death at 8:12 a.m. Oct. 3.
At 8:37 a.m., Sarah Ramos, 34, was shot at a post office near Leisure World, a retirement community in Wheaton. It was at this shooting that a witness reports seeing a white van leaving the post office parking lot.
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was reported shot at 9:58 a.m. in a Shell gas station in Kensington, where she was vacuuming her car.
On the evening of Oct. 3, around 9:15 p.m., Pascal Charlot, 72, became the only victim killed in Washington and the only one shot at night. He was taken to a hospital, but died less than an hour later.
On Oct. 4, at 2:30 p.m., a Caucasian female was struck in the back while loading purchases in her car outside a Michaels craft store, in Spotsylvania County, Va.
A 13-year-old black male was struck while walking into his school in Bowie, Md., on Oct. 7, at 8:08 a.m.
Dean Harold Myers, 53, was killed at 8:18 p.m. on Oct. 9 while pumping gas at a Sunoco station in Manassas, Va.
At 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, Kenneth Bridges was fatally shot while pumping gas at an Exxon station near Fredericksburg, Va.