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US Authorities Investigating Another Fatal Shooting Amid String of Sniper Attacks - 2002-10-10

Local and Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating a fatal shooting at a Washington area gasoline station late Wednesday. The killing of a man while pumping gasoline is viewed as similar to a string of six murders since October 2.

The shooting, in Manassas, Virginia, 50 kilometers from Washington, is feared to be the seventh killing in a week-long series of sniper attacks, which have also wounded two people.

The incidents have taken place in Washington, D.C., and nearby Virginia and Maryland. Prince William County, Virginia police chief Charlie Deane said it is too early to determine if Wednesday night's killing is related to the other attacks

"At this point, we cannot say if this case is related to those shootings. We are certainly in regular contact with the other agencies and have been throughout this series of crimes," chief Deane said.

Two of the Maryland shootings were at gasoline stations. A Maryland witness told police he saw two men in a white truck or van leaving the scene of a shooting outside a post office. Police in Virginia say they are on the lookout for a white mini-van seen driving away from the scene of the latest attack. They also say they have interviewed a witness to Wednesday's shooting.

Each victim in the series of attacks has been hit by a single shot, fired from an assault or a hunting rifle. There is no indication the victims knew each other. Ballistics evidence has linked the crimes.

Local media report that near the scene of the wounding of a 13-year-old Maryland boy on Monday, police found a rifle shell casing and a fortunetelling card representing death with a message written on it saying, "Dear policeman, I am God."