- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

Redskins faithful weren't going to let a little rain or the shadow of a sniper who has killed eight and wounded two others in the metropolitan area during the past 10 days keep them from their Sunday afternoon tailgating rituals.
"The three of us have agreed we're not going to let some wacko ruin our lives," said Jeff Boam, a Capitol Hill resident, as the smoke from broiling sausages permeated the parking lot atmosphere at FedEx Field in Landover.
"No. Absolutely not," said another early arrival, Rosemary Pipta, of Alexandria, when asked if she was frightened. "You know, you can't live in fear."
"We don't live in fear. We are cautious," said her husband, John Pipta, a retired Marine officer. "He wants to be successful. He doesn't want to be caught. He's not stupid."
"He ain't gonna ruin my day," said Rita Cocchiaro, 74, a ballet teacher living in New Carrollton.
Similar expressions were made by scores of Redskin fans, who arrived at FedEx three or four hours before game time. Most were grilling hamburgers, sausages, wieners and the like to go with side dishes of baked beans and coleslaw.
With the sniper still on the loose, security was a priority at the game: a helicopter hovered over the stadium through most of the game. Maryland state troopers and Prince George's County police and sheriff's deputies were everywhere in horses, motorcycles, bicycles and marked cruisers.
Officers in orange jackets watched closely as they directed cars, vans, pickup trucks and station wagons into thousands of parking lots for the 80,000 fans.
"The people who come here will notice a state of higher security," said Prince George's County police Capt. Andy Ellis.
He would not say how many officers had been added to the usual security force, but longtime Redskins fans acknowledged that there were more police than in the past.
"All of our officers up here today are off duty," Capt Ellis said, but added that police normally on Sunday duty were at their usual posts around the county.
"I'm happy about it. I like seeing the helicopter over this," said Pat Henning, 51, of Manassas, where a Gaithersburg man was shot and killed on Wednesday.
"We've never had anything like this happen," said her mother, Lucille Henning, of Star Tannery, Va., who will celebrate her 80th birthday next month.
Mrs. Henning has been a Redskins fan ever since she attended her first game as a 13-year-old high school freshman.
"I've been a faithful fan ever since," she said.
"We were nervous at first," said Jason Arbacheski, 26, a Pennsylvania labor department employee, adding that he and two friends were among the first to set up their tailgate picnic about 9 a.m.
Many tailgaters reversed their picnics yesterday. Normally, they park their vehicles to face the surrounding woods, and set up grills and tables facing the stadium.
"Usually, we park this way and set up to eat on the other side," said George Portalea, 48, a Gaithersburg automotive worker.
"We're all a little nervous," said Stephanie Milwit, 33, of Potomac Falls, Va. "I'm looking around a little more."
But the sniper threat has not bothered Mrs. Milwit as much as the terrorists ramming planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon.
"After 9/11, I didn't come to any games," Mrs. Milwit said.
Andrew Kasmer, 35, a Rockville lawyer, said he and his wife debated about coming to the game yesterday but finally decided to come.
"We have a little girl and we have not been going outside" since the sniper attacks began with the killing of three men and two women in 16 hours in Montgomery County, he said.


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