Archive for Saturday, November 2, 2002

September shooting linked to sniper case

November 2, 2002

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— Authorities linked yet another shooting to the sniper suspects Friday, the wounding of a Maryland store clerk more than two weeks before the string of Washington-area sniper shootings began terrorizing the region.

The number of shootings linked to the suspects now stands at 16, including 12 killed and five wounded in the Washington area, Alabama and Louisiana.

In the most recently linked shooting, a clerk was wounded Sept. 14 outside a liquor store near Washington.

Ballistics tests on a bullet fragment from the shooting were inconclusive. Police spokesman Derek Baliles says the sniper task force based the link on "similarity of circumstances, witness information and evidence that confirms the vehicle was in the Washington metropolitan area on the day of the shooting."

A week after that shooting, authorities say John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, had moved on to Montgomery, Ala., where they are accused of killing one woman and wounding another outside a liquor store there. Alabama authorities said Thursday that the same rifle used in the sniper shootings, a .223-caliber Bushmaster, had been linked to the Montgomery case.

Two days later, on Sept. 23, the men allegedly shot and killed a woman in Baton Rouge, La., outside a store.

The men are also suspects in a February killing in Washington state.

In the latest incident to be linked to the suspects, Rupinder Oberoi, 22, was wounded outside the Hillandale Beer and Wine in Silver Spring. He spent a week in the hospital before being released and is expected to fully recover.

Muhammad and Malvo were found sleeping in a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice when they were arrested Oct. 24. Authorities found the rifle in their car, which they say was modified so someone could fire unseen through a hole in the trunk.

They face multiple state and federal counts in the sniper spree in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C, as well as the deaths of two women in Alabama and Louisiana.

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