- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

A 53-year-old man shot to death at a Manassas, Va., service station Wednesday night was the serial sniper's ninth victim and seventh death, Prince William County police Chief Charlie Deane announced yesterday.
Ballistic tests on the bullet that killed Dean Harold Meyers of Gaithersburg confirmed the link with the earlier sniper shootings that have put residents across the Washington area on edge for the past eight days.
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said yesterday he plans to prosecute the sniper when he is caught, regardless of whether the person faces charges in other jurisdictions. He said a new Virginia law allows the death penalty in killings "in which the perpetrator tends to terrorize the general public."
"Sooner or later we will bring this individual to justice," said Mr. Ebert, whose office has sent more people to death row than any other in Virginia. "This case, if I have anything to do with it, will be prosecuted in this jurisdiction to the fullest extent of the law."
The fallout from the shootings includes cancellation of extracurricular activities at schools throughout the region, including dances and football games this weekend.
Mr. Meyers was shot to death at the Battlefield Sunoco station on Sudley Road by a single gunshot consistent with the earlier shootings, described as a .223-caliber bullet fired from a rifle.
"The ballistics evidence concluded that these cases are linked," Chief Deane said at a news conference outside the Prince William County Police substation in Dale City.
"It is a whodunit at this point," he said. "It's a very frightening case."
Mr. Meyers was the third victim gunned down at a service station.
The Sunoco station at 7203 Sudley Road is north of Manassas in an unincorporated area of Prince William County, about a quarter-mile from Interstate 66 and not far from Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Police said the shooting death of Mr. Meyers at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday had similarities to the other attacks in more ways than just the bullet fired.
Police believe that the sniper was lying in wait for his next victim in some bushes near an adjacent restaurant. The sniper has shot his other victims from behind a wall or from nearby wooded areas, police said.
"Like all citizens, I am outraged over this random, senseless violence, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families," Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner said in a statement issued yesterday afternoon.
"I want to assure every Virginian that we have directed appropriate resources within the Virginia State Police to provide whatever assistance is needed as this multijurisdictional investigation moves forward
"As the father of three daughters, I remind parents to be aware of the whereabouts of their children. Parents should talk with their children honestly in an age-appropriate way about issues of personal safety and help young people understand and cope with the information they are seeing and hearing."
The sniper has killed seven persons and wounded two. The 13-year-old boy shot outside his Bowie middle school and a woman in the parking lot of a Michaels store in Spotsylvania, Va., survived.
Mr. Meyers was the first fatality since Pascal Charlot was gunned down eight days ago while he was standing at Georgia Avenue and Kalmia Road NW.
Police found a tarot death card with a note saying "Dear policeman: I am God" in the woods next to Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie where the 13-year-old was shot. They believe it was left by the sniper.
Chief Deane said that no similar message was found near the Manassas shooting site, but he would not comment on other evidence. "All we will say is we did find evidence at the scene," he said.
WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported last night that a piece of paper considered evidence was found nearby.
Five of the sniper's victims were shot in Montgomery County. The others were single incidents in Spotsylvania County, Va., Manassas, Bowie and the District.
They all were going about normal business stopping at a gas station, going to school or going shopping.
There appears to be no pattern regarding race or sex or age.
The dead victims are:
James Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, killed at 6:04 p.m. Oct. 2 outside a grocery store in Wheaton.
James L. Buchanan, 39, of Blacksburg, Va., killed at 7:41 a.m. Oct. 3 while mowing a lawn at an auto dealership on Rockville Pike.
Premkumar Walekar, 54, of Olney, killed at 8:12 a.m. Oct. 3 at a gas station in Aspen Hill.
Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring, killed at 8:37 a.m. Oct. 3 outside a post office in a shopping center near Leisure World.
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring, killed at 9:58 a.m. Oct. 3 at a gas station in Kensington.
Pascal Charlot, 72, of the District, shot about 9:15 p.m. Oct. 3 while standing at Georgia Avenue and Kalmia Road NW. He died later at Washington Hospital Center.
Dean Harold Meyers, 53, shot about 8:15 Wednesday night while filling his car with gas at a Sunoco station in Manassas.
Chief Deane said that Mr. Meyers had filled up the tank of his car and had paid for his gasoline and was getting ready to get in the vehicle when he was shot.
The Virginia State Police immediately issued a lookout for a white van that was seen leaving the area. Last evening, Chief Deane said that the owner of the van had come forth and police were satisfied that he wasn't involved in the crimes.
State police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said state troopers closed off every exit from I-66 and stopped every white van on the highway.
Montgomery County police are still looking for a white box-type delivery truck that was seen leaving the area of one of the shootings last week.
Police said they were not sure if witnesses may be focusing on any white van after they hear gunshots.
Sudley Road is a main six-lane road from the Manassas area to I-66, lined with strip shopping centers. The highway was closed in both directions Wednesday night while officers looked for evidence.
Prince William police Sgt. Kim Chinn said that the highway was reopened at 5 a.m. yesterday, but officers continued to search the parking lots and buildings near the shooting.
Montgomery County police received a call yesterday afternoon from a woman who said a man may have fired at her car as she traveled on Interstate 270 near the Route 28 exit in Rockville.
Police stopped a blue pickup truck on the interstate north of Route 124 in Gaithersburg, but Capt. Nancy Demme said police found no gun. She called it a "road-rage" incident.
Toward the end of the evening rush hour, police searched the woods near Bradley Boulevard and the Capital Beltway in Bethesda after a report of gunshots. They found nothing.
A Montgomery County police spokeswoman said there was no indication that anyone was hit.
Just after 10 p.m. last night, a person was fatally shot in the 3600 block of Pear Tree Court in Wheaton. A county police spokeswoman said it "appears unrelated" to the sniper attacks, but would not elaborate.


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