- The Washington Times - Friday, October 4, 2002

Among the dead yesterday: A young mother running errands. An immigrant cabdriver who "lived the American dream." One victim was buying groceries. Another was pushing a lawn mower.
Five persons two white males, an Indian man, a Hispanic woman and a white woman were going about their daily lives on Wednesday night and yesterday morning when they were fatally shot in Montgomery County, seemingly at random.
"These individuals have not done anything. They are not figureheads. They are not associated with anything. They are simply victims," Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose said.
The first victim, James Martin, 55, was an "upbeat" government worker who was a Boy Scout troop leader and had a son, Ben, in the Scouts.
According to neighbor Miles Smid, Mr. Martin also left behind a widow, Billie. The family lived on the 15200 block of Centergate Drive in Silver Spring.
"Jim was the kind of guy who was always upbeat and positive and open to people," Mr. Smid said. "It's really sad that this occurred."
Mr. Martin was outside the Shoppers Food Warehouse in the Glenmont Shopping Center at 2201 Randolph Road in Silver Spring when he became the first fatality in the shooting spree at 6:04 p.m. Wednesday.
James L. Buchanan, 39, owned a landscaping company and cut the grass every week at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall in White Flint, where he was slain yesterday morning.
"But he was so much more than that because of what he did in the community," said the auto mall's service manager, Rob Smith. "He was an amazing man that continued to give back without ever wondering what was in it for him."
According to Mr. Smith, besides owning True Colors landscaping, Mr. Buchanan was active in the Montgomery County Girls and Boys Club and was on the board of the Montgomery County Crime Solvers.
"He was just a dynamite individual," Mr. Smith said. "He was the glue that held his family together. He was always the one that organized family events."
Mr. Buchanan grew up in Rockville and was the son of a retired Montgomery County police officer who now runs a Christmas tree farm in Blacksburg, Va. The younger Mr. Buchanan also lived in Blacksburg, a family friend said. His mother and sisters live in Bethesda.
"He was such a good human being," said Dottie Fitzgerald, president of Fitzgerald Auto Mall, who supervised Mr. Buchanan. "He did so much for the children of this county."
Mr. Buchanan was mowing the grass behind the Auto Mall just off Rockville Pike, when he became the shooting spree's second victim at 7:41 a.m. yesterday.
Premkumar Walekar, 54, left Bombay in 1968 and was "a classic American immigrant" who was driving a cab to help put children through college.
Mr. Walekar retired in 1998 after a long career as a distributor for ARA Distributors, and had been driving a D.C. cab for the last five years "to keep himself busy," said his brother, Vijay, 50, of Gaithersburg.
Family members called Mr. Walekar a "classic American immigrant," and brother-in-law Sudhaker Borge said he "lived the American dream."
"Most of his dreams were fulfilled in the promised land: owning his own home, his kids going to school, and helping people back in India," Mr. Borge said.
He leaves behind wife Margaret Walekar, 52, daughter Andrea, 23, and son Andrew, 22. The family lived at 18800 Rolling Acres Way in Olney.
Mr. Walekar was filling his cab with gas at a Mobil station at 4100 Aspen Hill Road when he was killed at 8:12 a.m.
"He was just pumping gas, trying to make extra money for his children's education," Mr. Borge said. "This is unbelievable. It's horrible."
Sarah Ramos, 34, cleaned houses in the area and was just sitting on a bench near the post office, waiting to get a ride for work when she was killed.
Witness Dolores Wallgren was going to a beauty shop five doors down from the U.S. Postal Service when she saw Miss Ramos at 3802 International Drive near the Leisure World retirement community.
"She was sitting on the bench, just sitting there," Miss Wallgren said. The victim then suddenly slumped over on the bench, bleeding from the head.
Miss Ramos lived on the 11400 block of Lockwood Drive in Silver Spring and was fatally shot at 8:37 a.m. yesterday.
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, had a husband and a daughter who was just a toddler but a feature at neighborhood children's parties.
Next-door neighbor Janaina Rocha, 29, said their daughters played together near the families' apartments in the 1500 block of Hampshire Court in Silver Spring.
"She came over to my apartment for birthday parties. Her daughter would play with my daughter. She was very nice and I am in total shock," she said.
Mrs. Lewis-Rivera was shot in the back and killed at 9:58 a.m. at a Shell station at the intersection of Connecticut and Knowles avenues in Kensington.
Mechanics working at the gas station said Mrs. Lewis-Rivera was vacuuming the interior of her van when she slumped down. Witnesses didn't realize she had been shot until she began to cough up blood.

Guy Taylor and Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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