- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 5, 2002

Authorities are trying to determine whether a shooting yesterday in Fredericksburg, Va., is linked to a random shooting spree that left six persons dead Wednesday and Thursday in Montgomery County and the District.
"It's interesting, and we feel it's important enough to send investigators there," Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose said of the Fredericksburg shooting.
Chief Moose last night said that a fatal shooting Thursday night in the District was the sixth of a rampage that had begun Wednesday in Silver Spring. Authorities initially thought the D.C. killing was not related to the Montgomery County slayings.
Pascal Charlot, 72, was killed while standing at Georgia Avenue and Kalmia Road NW about 9:15 p.m. Chief Moose said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) examined bullet fragments to determine that the bullet matches those from the Montgomery County shootings.
"He appeared to have been shot from a high-powered rifle. There were no shells," said a law enforcement source familiar with the Charlot shooting.
As with the earlier shootings, Mr. Charlot was killed with a single shot. He was hit within a block of the District-Montgomery County border.
Meanwhile, police said the bullet used in yesterday's Fredericksburg shooting is not the same type of high-grain, high-velocity bullet used in the killings.
A 43-year-old woman was wounded by a single gunshot in the parking lot of a Michaels craft store at the Spotsylvania Mall near Fredericksburg about 2:30 p.m. yesterday while loading packages in her trunk.
The unidentified woman was initially taken to Mary Washington Hospital and was transferred to Inova Fairfax Hospital. According to witnesses at the scene, she was alert and talking after she was shot, but she did not see her attacker.
Windows of a Michaels store in Aspen Hill, about 70 miles north of Fredericksburg, were shot out Wednesday evening in what police said was the first of a series of shootings that ended Thursday morning.
In a 16-hour span Wednesday and Thursday, five persons were fatally shot within six miles of each other in Montgomery County:
James Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, was killed Wednesday at 5:20 p.m. at 2201 Randolph Road in Wheaton.
James L. Buchanan, 39, of Blacksburg, Va., was killed at 11411 Rockville Pike on Thursday at 7:41 a.m.
Premkumar Walekar, 54, of Olney was killed at 8:12 a.m. three miles away at 4100 Aspen Hill Road in Aspen Hill.
Sarah Ramos, 34, was killed about 25 minutes later and two miles away at 3802 International Drive.
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring was killed at 9:58 a.m. at Knowles and Connecticut avenues in Kensington.
ATF Special Agent Michael Bouchard last night said Mr. Charlot was shot with the same gun that was used in the shootings at the Aspen Hill Mobil station, at the Kensington Shell station and in front of a post office near Leisure World in Silver Spring.
The two other shootings have not been linked yet, but Chief Moose said that's because the work hasn't been completed.
The police chief said geographic profilers last night would begin analyzing the locations of the shootings for any patterns. The department is awaiting the medical examiner's report on the killings, and a psychological profile of the shooter is being assembled.
The chief said the shooter appeared to have used an assault or hunting rifle loaded with .223-caliber bullets. In all five fatal shootings, no spent shell casings were found.
ATF Special Agent Joseph Riehl said the shooter could have military or law-enforcement training, but also could have been an amateur proficient with a rifle through practice. He said rifles that fire the .223-caliber bullet could be accurate from up to 650 yards and that it would be difficult to trace a suspect through those bullets.
"It's ammunition that people in this country can have," Mr. Riehl said. "You can buy it."
Police, who have no motive or suspect, say the shooter could as easily be deranged as he could be a terrorist trying to instill fear in the Washington area.
A U.S. intelligence official said yesterday that intelligence agencies reported in the past two months that Islamic terrorists were engaged in training for the use of sniper attacks against Americans. However, two intelligence officials said there is nothing to indicate the shootings in Montgomery County are "terrorist-related."
"Assassination training is a component of al Qaeda training," one official said. "But we don't have any evidence these were related to terrorists."
Another official said the possibility that the shootings were a terrorist attack could not be ruled out. Al Qaeda is known for not taking credit publicly for its attacks right away, this official said.
Last month, U.S. intelligence agencies reported in classified reports that al Qaeda's leadership is decentralizing, and Attorney General John Ashcroft warned Americans before September 11 that small-scale terrorist attacks are a possibility.
During a press conference yesterday, Mr. Ashcroft said the Justice Department is "greatly concerned" about the shooting deaths and that federal authorities are ready to assist in the investigation.
"We want to provide whatever assistance we can, and I believe that assistance has been offered early in this setting, and it's a continuing offer," he said.
Bill Gertz, Jerry Seper, Patrick Badgley and Mary Shaffrey contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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