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Shootings linked in OH

Police have linked two of 11 shootings that have taken place along a Columbus area highway.

BY SUSAN KIM | COLUMBUS, Ohio | November 30, 2003

Police have linked two of 11 shootings that have taken place along a Columbus area highway. So far only one person has been hit by a bullet, a 62-year-old woman who was killed Nov. 25.

The shootings, all on or near a section of Interstate 270, took place at different times of day, piercing trucks, cars, vans and pickups, shattering windows and flattening tires.

Fragments from two bullets indicated what police reports called a "definite match," but not enough evidence was gathered from other shootings to determine if they were linked.

Most of the shootings have occurred in the past seven weeks.

At a press conference, Chief Deputy Steve Martin of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office said investigators thought drivers were being targeted by one or more gunmen. But Martin refused to call the suspect a "sniper," theorizing the gunman could be mobile, and he viewed snipers as lying in wait in the woods, waiting for their victims.

Police have received many tips but have not taken anyone into custody for questioning.

A funeral was held Saturday for the victim.

In August of this year, police in Charleston, W.V., began investigating a series of shootings with eerie similarities to the serial sniper shootings that brought a siege mentality to the D.C. area last year.

Though police there have had many leads, no one has been arrested. Three people were shot and killed in the Charleston area with a .22 caliber rifle. Each was shot from a distance at area convenience stores or gas stations, and police conclusively linked all three shootings.

During August and September, Charleston area churches reported responding to people's fears with prayers and pastoral counseling, but since then there have been no more shootings and church response has waned.

Some investigators theorized that the Charleston shootings were drug-related.

The Ohio and West Virginia shootings have reawakened fears of a sniper attack similar to the one that happened in October 2002, when two snipers randomly gunned down 11 people and wounded several others in the Washington, D.C., area. Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad were arrested Oct. 24, 2002, as they slept in Muhammad's 1990 Chevrolet Caprice that prosecutors say had been turned into a snipers' nest.

During the sniper attacks in the D.C. area, churches held several interfaith services that focused on helping people cope with their fears.


Related Topics:

Urban, racial disparities mark gun deaths

Faith organizations focus on TX

Pastors turn chaplains in response


More links on Public Violence

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