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Archive for Monday, October 7, 2002

Authorities draw profile in Maryland shootings

October 7, 2002

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— One of the six people killed in a suburban Washington shooting spree was buried Sunday as investigators completed a profile that focuses on where the killer might live.

Police also were awaiting an FBI psychological profile of the shooter, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose said. Police have begun to use a geographic profile submitted by investigators that uses crime locations to determine where the killer feels comfortable traveling and may live.

"To us, the motivation of the offender is not relevant. We're looking at the geography," said Kim Rossmo, a police researcher who compiled the profile.

Moose would not offer specifics on what the geographic profile revealed. Investigators were making progress, he said, but "some of the more desirable smoking gun leads just aren't there."

Family and friends also gathered Sunday to bury Prem Kumar Walekar, a taxi driver slain Thursday at an Aspen Hill gas station.

Nieces and nephews sang songs and remembered a man they called "Prem Uncle" while standing under a video screen that flashed snapshots from his life. Walekar, 54, was remembered as quiet, funny, generous and caring, a man who showed his affection with a gentle pinch of a child's cheek.

Walekar was one of five people shot to death at random in Montgomery County in a 16-hour span Wednesday and Thursday. A sixth victim was killed Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Investigators said Sunday that ballistics evidence also linked the shooting of a 43-year-old woman in Spotsylvania County, Va., on Friday with the Maryland murders. She was shot in the back in a parking lot at a Michaels craft store about 2:30 p.m. in Fredericksburg, Va.

She was in fair condition Sunday at INOVA Fairfax Hospital.

Investigators hoped to learn more about the killer's location from the geographic profile, a relatively new investigative tool used first in Canada, said Rossmo, director of research for the Police Foundation, a nonprofit criminal justice research organization.

If a series of rapes, for example, occurs over a 10-square mile area, geographic profiling can often narrow the area in which the attacker is likely to live to within half a square mile, Rossmo said.

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