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Police Launch Hunt for Suspects In Sixteen-Hour Shooting of Five

By Deborah Barfield Berry

and Tim Higgins
NEWSDAY -- WASHINGTON

Montgomery County, Md., police launched a massive manhunt Thursday for suspects who gunned down and killed five people in what appeared to be a random 16-hour shooting spree in the usually quiet suburban community north of the nation’s capital.

The victims were doing routine activities such as pumping gas and grocery shopping when they were killed in five separate shootings that began Wednesday night.

Police say they have no motive for the shootings and acknowledge heightened concern that the suspect might be a “skilled shooter” because only one shot was fired in each fatal incident.

The suspect also took aim in daylight and, in one case, near a police station.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in Montgomery County,” said county Police Chief Charles Moose. “This is a very safe community. Our homicide rate just increased by 20 percent in one day. This is not what happens here.”

Police said there was no indication the victims knew each other or had any connections. There was no clear motive for the shootings, police said, but they believe the shootings were connected because a similar weapon was used in each incident. Police would not say what type of weapon was used.

Police have ruled out race as a motive in the shootings because the victims ranged from a 55-year-old white man to a 34-year-old Hispanic woman and a 54-year-old Indian cab driver.

“These individuals have not done anything. These are not figureheads,” Moose said. “These are simply victims, and we need to figure out a way to stop this.”

Police were looking for a white cargo van with black lettering and possible damage in the back of the van. A witness told police he believed two people were in a van that sped away soon after a shooting.