MD shootings stun communities


"Please do not panic. Let us work through this."

—Police Chief Charles Moose

In the past 24 hours, five people were fatally shot within a ten-mile radius in several public places in Montgomery County, Md.

"Please do not panic," said Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. "Let us work through this."

FBI officials have released a potential profile of the suspected killer or killers, describing them as sociopaths, likely in their teens or 20s, who were using a rifle and were possibly on drugs or alcohol.

Police said the first victim was shot in Wheaton, in the parking lot of a grocery store. The 55-year-old male was killed shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday, a man was killed in the White Flint area as he was riding a lawn mower. About a half-hour later, a cab driver was shot while he was pumping gas at a Mobil station. He died at the scene.

"These individuals have not done anything," Moose said at a press conference. "They are just victims."

By 8:45 a.m., another victim had been shot. A woman died when she was shot in the head near a post office in Silver Spring. The last victim died at 10 a.m. as she was vacuuming her van at a Shell gas station in Kensington.

Montgomery and Prince George County schools were locked down, canceling recess and allowing children to leave only when accompanied by a parent. In Montgomery County, after-school and evening activities were cancelled and police planned to be on hand should their services be needed.

Some Montgomery County school officials said they would have counselors at schools for students Friday, and next week if they were needed.

Police didn't yet know if the shootings were related, but were seeking two suspects in a white Isuzu SUV witnesses had spotted leaving the scene of at least one of the shootings. They did, however, say the shootings were not related to terrorism or racially motivated.

According to D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, 303 firearm homicides and 289 handgun homicides occurred in Maryland in 2000.

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