- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2002

Police said yesterday that two shootings in the Washington area during the weekend did not match the pattern of last week's sniper attacks.
Howard County police said the death of D.C. resident Leon Swain, 26, whose body was found in a wooded area Saturday night, didn't match the pattern of the other killings.
In Southeast yesterday, D.C. police found a man who had been shot in the head in a vehicle but said the weapon was different than that used in the series of shootings that left six persons dead. The man was taken to a local hospital.
Ballistics tests have linked four of the six killings with the shooting of a woman in Fredericksburg, Va.
Montgomery County investigators, looking for a break in last week's fatal sniperlike attacks, are using standard procedures and trying a new approach. Yesterday, police and officials renewed their plea for people to call the tip line. They also completed a geographic profile.
"A tip from the public can give police the lead they need to crack the case," said County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who said 800 credible leads are being checked from more than 4,000 tips so far.
People who think they may have seen, heard or know something about the crimes are asked to call 240/777-2600.
Police Chief Charles A. Moose said the case is moving forward.
"We feel we are making progress," he said. "Everyone is working hard. Everyone is very optimistic."
Geographic profiles use crime locations to determine where the killer feels comfortable traveling and home in on where he or she lives.
A typical geographic profile focuses the investigation on 5 percent or less of the area originally under consideration, according to police.
Chief Moose said he would not discuss specifics of the geographic profile prepared for this case.
"This is another tool," Chief Moose said. "It is something we have not used before. We are willing to use each and every thing that may assist."
Kim Rossmo, an instructor of geographical profiles for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, volunteered assistance in the hunt for the killer or killers.
Mr. Rossmo, a former police investigator in Vancouver, Canada, said a combination of details from the crime scenes can help focus the hunt for the sniper to a small area.
"Crimes occur near offenders' homes, but not too close," Mr. Rossmo said.
For instance, he said, geographic profiling from five rapes in a 10-mile square site can narrow the search to residences in a -square-mile area.
There are no suspects in the shootings. Fairfax County police are holding Robert Gene Baker III, 33, on an auto-theft warrant from Florida. Chief Moose has repeatedly stressed that Mr. Baker is not a suspect in the spree and no weapons were found with him.
There were no known witnesses to the killings, but one person reported seeing a white delivery truck speeding away from the scene of a shooting that took place outside a post office. The witness told police it had two men inside. Police are still searching for the vehicle.
While the search continued, family and friends gathered at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park to bury Premkumar Walekar of Olney. He was killed about 8:15 a.m. Thursday as he filled his taxicab at a Mobil station in Aspen Hill.
Mr. Walekar was one of five persons fatally shot at random in Montgomery County in a 16-hour span Wednesday and Thursday. A sixth victim was killed in the District on Thursday, within a block of the District-Montgomery County border.
Tests conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed that the same weapon was used to kill Mr. Walekar and three other victims. High-powered .223-caliber bullets were used and police say they had been fired from a distance by a skilled shooter.
Other slugs too badly damaged to be forensically linked to the .223s were the shots that killed James D. Martin, 55, at Shoppers Food Warehouse at Randolph Road and Georgia Avenue, and James L. Buchanan, 39, who was mowing grass near White Flint Mall.
But Chief Moose said those shootings are linked because of the means and timing of the attacks.
Investigators said that ballistics evidence also linked the shooting of a 43-year-old woman in Spotsylvania County, Va., on Friday with the Maryland killings. She was shot in the back in a parking lot at a Michaels craft store about 2:30 p.m. in Fredericksburg.
She was in fair condition yesterday at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The woman, whom police are not identifying, was loading shopping goods into her vehicle outside a Michaels arts and crafts store.
A Michaels store in Aspen Hill had a window shot out Wednesday evening less than an hour before the first victim was killed and about a block away from where Mr. Walekar was killed.
The bullet retrieved from the Aspen Hill store was badly misshapen and could not be matched with bullets from four other victims.
Police are waiting for autopsy reports on the victims, although the most they are expected to show is how high the rifle was being held when it was fired. They also are waiting for a detailed psychological profile about the shooter from the FBI.
Chief Moose said Montgomery County public schools will open and operate normally today. Although no special assignments have been made, uniformed police will be highly visible, he said.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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