- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

Dean Harold Meyers, the man police officials say was the ninth person shot the seventh fatally by a sniper stalking the Washington area, was a good neighbor, according to those who lived near him in west Gaithersburg.

Mr. Meyers, 53, shot once in the upper body, was gassing up his car just after 8 p.m. on Wednesday at a Sunoco station at Sudley and Balls Ford roads, south of U.S. 66 in Manassas. A white van, similar to a Dodge Caravan but without side windows, was seen driving away.

Mr. Meyers, a bachelor, was an engineer who commuted to his Virginia job, jogged almost every day, sometimes rode a motorcycle, befriended stray cats and kept his lawn and trees trimmed.

Neighbors of the man who lived more than 15 years in a townhouse at 33 Rye Court said they think he had relatives in Pennsylvania.

"I can't say enough good things about him. He always had time to stop and talk," said Carol Iverson, 79, who lived next door at 31 Rye for 15 years before moving several years ago.

Her daughter, Suzanne Iverson, 49, who has since lived there, said, "He would always help you out."

She saw him most often as they were outside working on their lawns, Suzanne Iverson said. They had not talked about the string of shootings that began the evening of Oct. 2 about 15 miles away in the Aspen Hill community.

"We are thankful for the law enforcement working on our behalf," she said.

Clara Johnson lives with her husband, daughter and grandson four doors away from 33 Rye Court. She said Mr. Meyers frequently went jogging in the community across from the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

"He loved cats," she said. "He would take in all the stray cats he could find into his house and feed them."

"I know he was a good man," said Mrs. Johnson, who moved into the community in 1985. "He was here before we moved here."

A white Jeep-like vehicle was parked in front of Mr. Meyers' home, but Mrs. Johnson said that he typically drove a small, sporty black car to work. That was the car he had filled with gas before he was shot.

There was, however, some bright news yesterday for friends and family members of another sniper victim.

A relative of the 13-year-old boy gunned down outside Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie on Monday addressed reporters outside Children's Hospital in the District yesterday. The boy has remained in medically induced sedation since being brought to the hospital by helicopter just minutes after he was shot.

"He continues to remain in critical but stable condition," said Wayne Curtis, the boy's cousin. "He is a fighter, and we remain optimistic. As our doctors have told us, this is a marathon, not a sprint. But we are confident that we will make it to the finish line."

While he thanked "everyone for their support and continued prayers," Mr. Curtis said that the family is "very concerned and troubled" by numerous and at times erroneous public reports of the boy's condition.

"We fear this places him at risk and may compromise the law enforcement efforts to apprehend the responsible party or parties," he said. "We ask that the community, our friends, family and neighbors respect my family's wishes for privacy at this most painful time. Our priority is to put all our energies toward his recovery."


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