An unknown shooter (or shooters) continues to target military related facilities in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area. The FBI has just linked the November 1- 2 shooting at a US Coast Guard recruiting station located off of I-95 in Woodbridge, VA to four other seemingly symbolic shootings within the past two weeks.
Targets to Date
On October 16-17, 2010, someone fired multiple shots through the glass roof of the US Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Virginia, (I-95) causing approximately $100,000 in damage. On the morning of October 18, someone using the same high powered rifle fired at least six shots into the windows of unoccupied 3rd and 4th floor offices in the Pentagon, just miles north of the Museum on I-95. On October 25-26, the same weapon was used to fire shots through the windows of a US Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, VA, located 31 miles northwest of the Marine Corps Museum. The believed shooter then apparently returned to the Marine Corps Museum the evening of October 28-29 and fired more bullets into that facility. Finally on the night of November 1-2, the same rifle was used to fire one or more rounds at the windows of the Coast Guard recruiting station. To date, no one has been injured.
As the FBI Laboratory has linked the bullets recovered from each of the five shootings to the same weapon, it is highly likely that the same one or perhaps two men or women are responsible for these attacks. I believe that the locations shot at by this shooter or these shooters were chosen for their symbolic nature to the US Military. The shootings have taken place at night or early in the morning; times when the shooter(s) could reasonably believe that no one would be present. I also note that over 30,000 runners took part in the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon in the Washington, DC area this past weekend. Had the shooter(s) have wanted to injure anyone; they would have had plenty of symbolic human targets from which to choose.
FBI Profile of Shooter
The FBI, based upon the first four shootings, offered a profile suggesting that the shooter may be a current or former US Marine or someone upset with the Marines, who was intentionally avoiding any injury of people, to include military personnel. They went on to state that the shooter may have suffered some recent dramatic event in his life, something along the lines of a divorce or the loss of a job. The shooter, who in all probability lives and works in the local Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area, likely became aware of the FBI profile and for reasons known only to himself, choose a Coast Guard office as his fifth target. Perhaps he is sending a message that he is not simply targeting the Marine Corps, or perhaps he shot at this latest target to preclude investigators from looking strictly at the Marines as they seek to identify the person responsible for these attacks.
The shooter or shooters would know investigators have linked the shootings together by the type of rifle and round used, but he has not switched weapons to date. The authorities, for their part, have not revealed the type or caliber of rifle or round fired, keeping this information close to protect their investigation.
It appears that the shooter or the shooters will continue targeting symbolic military targets, his/their way of sending a message; but what is the message? This is why the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) has publically asked the shooter to contact them to discuss his reasons for these attacks, hoping beyond hope that they can initiate a dialogue with the shooter to allow him to pass on his message before someone is injured or worse. In the meantime the JTTF will continue its investigation concerning the shooter’s weapon, one in all likelihood that they have identified and are trying to determine if any possible suspect could have access to. Ammunition sales in the local area will be checked also, but it is the start of hunting season, and unless the rifle is far different that one used by many for target practice and hunting, the investigators will have a lot of work ahead of them.
Need for Public Help
It is likely the shooter would have expressed his frustration, anger and possible rage to others prior to his first attack, and investigators must depend on the public to help them in their search for the unidentified shooter before he changes his choice of targets.
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