A man is in critical condition following a shooting in Virginia late Saturday. Authorities say the incident could be linked to a series of sniper attacks in the Washington DC area that have killed nine people and wounded two others since October 2.

The victim, a 37-year-old man, was shot in the abdomen as he and his wife walked to their car in the parking lot of a restaurant in Ashland, Virginia, about 140 kilometers south of Washington.

Police say the man was shot with a single bullet, the same as all the victims of the sniper. They are searching a wooded area adjacent to the restaurant, where investigators believe the shot may have been fired.

Hanover County, Virginia Sheriff Stuart Cook said investigators are treating the shooting as though it is related to the sniper attacks until proven otherwise. "We do not know if [the shooting] is tied or related to the sniper in Northern Virginia and Maryland," he said. "But we are going to treat it as if it is until we know it is not."

If the shooting is the work of the sniper, it would be the first time the killer or killers has struck on a Saturday or Sunday. The location is also much farther from the nation's capital than the previous 11 shootings.