- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2002

ASHLAND, Va. Police shut down major roadways here last night after a man was shot outside a restaurant in what was being investigated as the latest shooting in a series of sniper attacks that have terrorized metropolitan Washington since Oct. 2.
"We are unaware at this time if the shooting is related to the shootings in Maryland and Virginia. However, we are quarantining the area as if it were," Ashland police Chief Frederic Pleasants Jr. said in a prepared statement.
The victim, who was described as a 37-year-old white male traveler, was shot once in the abdomen and taken to Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond for surgery, said Lt. Doug Goodman of the Hanover County Sheriff's Department.
The man, who had just left a restaurant with his wife when he was shot, was conscious and talking to paramedics on the way to the hospital, Lt. Goodman said. His condition was not known last night.
They had not yet recovered the bullet at 11:45 p.m., and the surgery was still under way.
The shooting occurred about 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Ponderosa Steak House in the 800 block of England Street. Witnesses reported hearing a shot coming from a wooded treeline about 100 feet behind the restaurant, Lt. Goodman said.
Police officers were combing the area for evidence last night.
"The tactical shutdown of the highways in this area is continuing. Vehicles are being checked and released slowly," Lt. Goodman said, adding that the shutdown was the result of a tactical response plan developed for the sniper attacks.
"It was implemented fairly quickly and efficiently," he said.
Virginia State Police immediately set up roadblocks along Interstate 95 and State Route 54 in Hanover County. Helicopters with search lights hovered over the area, while state troopers inspected cars along the roadways.
Sgt. William Vogt of the Maryland State Police said troopers were setting up roadblocks along Interstate 95 in Maryland on the lookout for a white van with a ladder rack. The Virginia State Police reported a witness saw such a vehicle in the area around the time of the shooting Saturday night.
A white Chevrolet Astro van was seen speeding away from a fatal shooting near Fredericksburg, Va., on Oct. 11. Police have issued composite illustrations of the van.
The task force of local, state and federal agencies investigating the sniper case was heading to the scene to determine if the shooting is related to the attacks, said Capt. Nancy Demme, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Police Department.
The sniper last struck Oct. 14, killing a woman at a home- improvement store in Falls Church, Va. If the current shooting is linked to the sniper case, it would be the first carried out on a weekend and in a different metropolitan area Richmond, which is about 30 miles south of Ashland.
Earlier yesterday, authorities had not yet determined if a shell casing found inside a white box truck at a rental agency near Washington Dulles International Airport on Friday is linked to a series of sniper attacks that have killed nine persons in the metropolitan area since Oct. 2.
"That vehicle and that shell casing were seized [We] do not expect to have any information on that matter until, at the earliest, on Monday," Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose said during a news conference in Rockville yesterday.
Special agent Michael R. Bouchard of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) said "forensic tests are being conducted on all the evidence, and we don't have any results that we can release."
Investigators, who determined the gunman has used .223-caliber bullets, have profiled a white box truck based on descriptions from witnesses at more than one of the sniper attacks.
Yesterday, the sniper's sixth and seventh victims were commemorated and buried in separate ceremonies.
Family and friends of Pascal Emile Charlot, 73, eulogized the District's sole sniper victim in a ceremony conducted mostly in Haitian Creole at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Northwest. Mr. Charlot, who was killed Oct. 3 in Northwest, was remembered for his loyalty, diligence and sense of humor.
In Pottstown, Pa., more than 100 people filled the Coventry Church of the Brethren to commemorate Dean H. Meyers, a 53-year-old civil engineer and Vietnam veteran who was gunned down Oct. 9 at a gas station in Manassas. Mr. Meyers, who grew up in Philadelphia, had been a resident of Gaithersburg.
Around the metropolitan region, officials yesterday had canceled several outdoor events, such as athletic competitions and an antique car show. But Fort Belvoir, Va., played host to 58 football teams whose games otherwise would have been called off, gladdening scores of elementary school players who have been kept inside during the sniper crisis.
The Army post's commander offered the base's fields and its secured perimeter after he heard that the Fairfax County youth football league had canceled yesterday's 29 games, said Belvoir spokeswoman Marcia Klein. A cancellation would have jeopardized the season, so the county youth sports director accepted the offer and worked with volunteers Friday to stripe the base's fields, Mrs. Klein said.
Meanwhile at Montgomery County police headquarters, Chief Moose declined to provide any information about the caliber of the shell casing, the search of the truck, the last person who rented the vehicle or the progress of the investigation.
Seeming sometimes irked by reporters' questions, Chief Moose also declined to discuss whether investigators gleaned helpful information from witnesses since they discredited an account of a supposed witness who said he had seen the sniper fire a fatal shot Monday night at a home-improvement store in Falls Church.
"We want to just give our people time to do their work, and that work hasn't been done," he said.
On Friday, Matthew M. Dowdy, 37, of Falls Church was charged with making a false statement about Monday's killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin at a Home Depot near Falls Church. Authorities said Mr. Dowdy falsely described the shooter, the weapon and a vehicle at the scene.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Mr. Dowdy was ordered held without bail pending a hearing tomorrow.
Chief Moose yesterday encouraged other witnesses to come forward with information and credited reports about the investigation for a flood of tips, citing the rented truck being examined by the ATF.
"This is a good example of people hearing the message, people seeing things, then notifying local authorities," said the chief, who heads the interagency task force investigating the sniper attacks. "We are still interested in white box trucks, as well as the two composite vans that were issued from the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office [after] a shooting there."
Chief Moose, who has held daily news conferences since Oct. 3, said there will be no news conference today. The next one will be held at noon tomorrow.
Asked to comment on the sniper's inactivity since Monday, Chief Moose said "any day without violence is a good day and any other speculation would be inappropriate."
About 1,000 officers of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have engaged in a massive manhunt for the sniper who has randomly shot 11 persons killing nine and wounding two in Maryland, Virginia and the District since Oct. 2. There are no apparent racial, sexual or ethnic similarities or connections among the victims.
Dean H. Meyers, the seventh victim, was eulogized as an avid outdoorsman, an excellent second baseman in softball, a motorcycle and car enthusiast, and a huge fan of the Beatles.
"He talked about the American dream, and he was optimistic about it," said his nephew, Larry G. Meyers Jr. "He was a role model for any American or anybody in the whole world."
Nephew Mike Meyers played guitar during the service and sang a tribute he wrote to his uncle that included the lines, "You've done nothing to deserve this you fell innocent."
Many said Mr. Meyers was a great conversationalist who was fun to be around and who always made an effort to connect with his family, even though he lived far away. Relatives also remembered how he would give them thrills by taking them for a ride in his 1966 Chevrolet Stingray Corvette, which was part of the funeral procession.
Mr. Charlot, the sixth victim, was hailed as one of the District's pioneers for the Haitian community, having arrived in the United States with his family in 1964.
"He was a carpenter, a handyman," said family friend Gladys Mitchell of Mount Pleasant. "Anything you needed done, he could do it. He was such a gentleman."
Mr. Charlot had done work for Mrs. Mitchell and her family since 1991, she said. In August, Mr. Charlot spent a lot of time on major repairs at the 13th Street home of his daughter and son-in-law, who then sold the Northwest home and moved to Iowa.
During the 90-minute ceremony for Mr. Charlot, the names of the sniper's other fatal victims were read aloud. Family and friends from as far as Haiti and northern New Jersey arrived to pay their respects to Mr. Charlot.
"He was a good guy with a big heart," Nico Frazile, 35, of Linden, N.J., said of his uncle.
Mr. Frazile said he admired Mr. Charlot for being self-made and one of the first members of a flourishing Haitian community to settle in the District.
S.A. Miller and Matthew Cella contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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