Join 3,524 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Shootings in Montgomery County, Maryland
October 3, 2002 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Shootings in Montgomery County, Maryland - In the past 15 hours, 5 seemingly random people have been shot and killed, possibly by two men driving around in a White SUV. The county's schools are currently in lockdown.
posted by emptybowl (61 comments total)

 
Washington Post -- suprised this isnt all over the front pages national yet.
posted by stbalbach at 9:07 AM on October 3, 2002


is it OJ?
posted by putzface_dickman at 9:09 AM on October 3, 2002


The first shooting occurred last night, when a man identified as James Martin was killed in the parking lot of a grocery store in Wheaton. About 7:40 a.m., a man on a lawnmower was shot in the 11000 block of Rockville Pike. Then about 8:10 a.m., at a Mobil gas station on Aspen Hill Road at Connecticut Avenue, a man was shot while pumping gas. About a half hour later, a woman was shot at the post office of the Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring. Another shooting occurred at 10 a.m. at a Shell gas station on Knowles Avenue on Connecticut Avenue.

Damn. This is my hometown and stomping grounds. Hope they gun these bastards down. Dont go back to Rockville, anarchy in the streets.
posted by stbalbach at 9:10 AM on October 3, 2002


My old stomping grounds too. The first thing I thought when I read the WP article was "ultraviolence."
posted by contessa at 9:16 AM on October 3, 2002


Yeah, news stories like this are much scarier when you can picture the exact place they're happening in your head. Leisure World is right down the street from where I used to live in Silver Spring.
posted by emptybowl at 9:18 AM on October 3, 2002


is it OJ?
This is really awful, but I had to laugh.
In related news, schools in Whitby, ON were under lockdown on Monday because of an escaped alleged first degree murderer. They caught him hiding under a porch six houses north of me. There were cops everywhere when I got home...it was creepy.
posted by Fabulon7 at 9:21 AM on October 3, 2002


my close friend jessica works in the hospital where the victims have been taken and she has been giving me updates throughout the morning. there is a possibility of a sixth victim, she has said. [a sixth person from the area has been brought into the hospital for gun-related trauma]

having just seen the new michael moore film, i am being hypersensitive to gun-related crimes the past few days. it just makes me extremely apprehensive and anxious.
posted by disaster at 9:21 AM on October 3, 2002


Yeah, news stories like this are much scarier when you can picture the exact place they're happening in your head.

I don't have to picture it. I'm sitting in the middle of it right now. I shop at the Leisure World Giant three times a week, and my girlfriend lives a couple of blocks from Northgate Plaza.

I just heard police sirens rolling by my office a minute ago.
I'm not shaking in my boots, but I'm going outside anytime soon, either.
posted by GreyWingnut at 9:26 AM on October 3, 2002


schools in Whitby, ON were under lockdown on Monday

It was last friday.
posted by smcniven at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2002


I used to live in Aspen Hill. I live in Laurel, MD now, and work in Vienna, VA. I won't be taking the overland routes home tonight, that's for sure. I'll be the one stuck in traffic coming across the American Legion Bridge on the Beltway - unless I see a white Izuzu! Were the victims taken to Suburban Hospital? My niece works there.
posted by Corky at 9:32 AM on October 3, 2002


I'll never understand murder for murders sake. I can see shooting somebody for personal gain, but gunning down somebody who is cutting his lawn is just stupid. This type of senseless killing is why people support the death penalty, and I see no reason why people who commit senseless acts of killing shouldn't be killed themselves.
posted by jbou at 9:45 AM on October 3, 2002


Lot of MeFi readers in Metro DC. I live in Alexandria, but my dad's currently in Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park ... and I'm driving my mom up there today (every other day trip for me). It's not super close to the referenced shootings, but it's not all that goddamned distant, either.

I was born in DC and have never lived more than fifteen miles away from downtown ... used to have a lot of friends up in those areas, and for non-DC familiars, Wheaton, Aspen Hill, et al are not exactly ghetto hoods. Leisure World is a retirement community ... the thought of people getting capped while just out pumping gas or going for a muffin and a latte at Starbucks is enough to make your blood run cold.

This is just fucking awful. I guess now my wife can't make fun of me for wanting to wear kevlar body armor and a helmet when I leave the apartment.

Fuck it, I'm getting a tank.
posted by KiloHeavy at 9:48 AM on October 3, 2002


John Brunner was right.
posted by interrobang at 10:05 AM on October 3, 2002


i'm so glad we're the "good" society and not the "evil" one.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2002


FTR, it's not a white SUV, it's a white delivery-style truck, possibly an Isuzu, with damage to the rear lift gate.

Sounds like this guy is a trained shooter, only one shot missed a target, though it's just presumed right now that the first shot was the same guy. Each of the deaths was one shot, one fatal hit. Screams sniper to me. Police will be on patrol when schools are dismissed this afternoon, just for safety's sake.

DC area MeFites, please be careful if you have to be in the Randolph Road/Wheaton Village area.
posted by Dreama at 10:13 AM on October 3, 2002


CNN has it now. MSNBC, too. Fairfax County schools are keeping their kids inside.
posted by Corky at 10:14 AM on October 3, 2002


That's my hometown, damn..
posted by owillis at 10:19 AM on October 3, 2002


More detail here. Not on CNN or MSNBC yet, did see it on Foxnews.
posted by footballrabi at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2002


In Fairfax County, officers were posted at the American Legion Bridge on the Capital Beltway, in case the van tries to cross into Virginia, police spokeswoman Sophia Grinnan said.

If I left Virginia right now, I'll bet I could make it home in less than three hours! (It isn't quite 1:30 PM yet. It's a 30 mile commute. It's sad.)
posted by Corky at 10:30 AM on October 3, 2002


Glenn Reynolds asks: "Nobody's mentioning terrorism in connection with these apparently motiveless shootings in the DC area. Why not?"
posted by pardonyou? at 10:31 AM on October 3, 2002


I'm sitting in an office in Silver Spring right now, dreading the walk back to the Metro and wondering why this couldn't have happened in some place like Fairfax instead.

Not that I'd wish this on anyone, of course.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2002


What's even weirder/scarier about this incident is that earlier this year, there were cases of guys in a white van shooting blowguns at people in the Logan Circle/Studio Theatre area. A number of people got hit, and I don't believe anyone was caught.

What is it with white vans and shooting people. And was it the same people? Practicing for bigger game or something?

Boggles the mind. :/
posted by tittergrrl at 10:35 AM on October 3, 2002


Fox's D.C. affiliate is suggesting that the shootings may be race-related: so far three of the five dead are confiirmed to be Black or Hispanic (no direct link, but it's at the head of the "Fox 5 Headlines" section at the
moment.)
posted by ryanshepard at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2002


Oops, blowgun incident was a white caddy. Still... don't think they were caught.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:39 AM on October 3, 2002


My girlfriend works up there, in an office park to which she walked several blocks by herself this morning. I think I'll brave the traffic and give her a ride home today.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2002


"...may be race-related: so far three of the five dead are confiirmed to be Black or Hispanic"

Why not... right? I mean god forbid this could just be some CRAZY MOTHERFUCKER running around shooting people. So let's work on a motive to toss around BEFORE we even know who the bastards are. IS it race related if the dudes are... say, Polish? Maybe it's a bisexual struggling with his sexuality. Maybe all of the dead people are San Francisco Giants fans... DIE! DIE! DIE!. Maybe Maybe Maybe!

"Fox's D.C. affiliate is suggesting that the shootings may be race-related:"

FOX News is fucking GUESSING. I mean some are black and some are NOT black. Some are hispanic and some are NOT hispanic. So how is this race related? Ohh... I see. They all belong to a race, as opposed to NOT belonging to a race... like white people.
posted by Witty at 10:51 AM on October 3, 2002


I like the caption on BBC's version of the story: "The killings may fuel calls for gun law reform." Sure they will. Look at all the successful reforms that have come from other shooting rampages.
posted by hyperizer at 10:59 AM on October 3, 2002


FOX News is fucking GUESSING.

Well, obviously. But point taken re: "race-related" - I should have been more specific.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2002


"Nobody's mentioning terrorism in connection with these apparently motiveless shootings in the DC area. Why not?"

One reporter asked Montgomery County Police Captain Nancy Demme (sp?) about terrorism during the press conference an hour or so ago. Her response was plain and obvious "Right now, we have no reason to suspect any political motive to these shootings, but we won't know until we apprehend a suspect." So, duh. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility, no one has been caught and found to have a link to terrorism, so why immediately suspect that it is rather than a couple of thrill killers, picking off taxi drivers and old women and men mowing their #*$&%^! lawns?
posted by Dreama at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2002


Dreama, Reynolds was just wondering why none of the major news outlets were mentioning the possibility of terrorism, not that anyone is "immediately suspecting" that this is, for sure, terrorism. But wondernig whether something might be related to terrorism is a legitimate question in America today, unfortunately, and needs to be considered as a possibility. Obviously that happened during the news conference to which you refer.

Also, there's an update over at Reynolds' site.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2002


Oh hells bell. Look at this map!
http://wtoptraffic.com/wtoplmiv/traffic.htm

Very slow to load - the entire Metropolitan Washington Area is going to be a little late getting home tonight. There are roadblocks on every major artery - only two ways to get across the river, and they are both being monitored.

I sure hope they catch these guys quickly.
posted by Corky at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2002


Um, the icons on that traffic map lead to descriptions of routine road work, unless I'm not seeing something...
posted by jalexei at 11:32 AM on October 3, 2002


Well, it *IS* terrorism, isn't it? I mean a whole city is being terrorized.
Question is whether it might be organized terrorism or not. I seriously doubt it.
posted by Jako at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2002


ryanshepard... I wasn't ranting directly in your direction at all... no offense was intended. I was merely commenting on FOX News... not you. ;0)
posted by Witty at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2002


do the shootings spell out a smiley face yet?
posted by zoopraxiscope at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2002


jalexei: Yes, exactly. The icons are pointing out the regular delays. Now, troopers are stationed at both sides at the bridges that cross the Potomac, stopping "any suspicious truck."

My fellow area residents will testify - light rain slows things to a crawl, and 1/8" of snow can paralyze traffic. I can't imagine what a massive manhunt, complete with roadblocks will do.
posted by Corky at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2002


What Witty said. It is no longer NEWS when the media is speculating. And this is generally what television media is all about now. Sensationalism.

As for the thread... I live 3 blocks from where the last shooting occurred. I am not afraid. I am no more likely to be a victim of violent crime than I was before these fuckwits went on their rampage. However, I am sure elected officials will overreact... and move to outlaw white vans rather than guns.
posted by terrapin at 11:51 AM on October 3, 2002


jalexei: Yes, exactly. The icons are pointing out the regular delays. Now, troopers are stationed at both sides at the bridges that cross the Potomac, stopping "any suspicious truck."

Gotcha - sorry, I was expecting to see little police car icons or something...
posted by jalexei at 11:59 AM on October 3, 2002


This whole thing proves that law enforcement in its current form does not work. What we need is the ability to perform preemptive strikes on citizens that are considered threats to national and local security.

Oh... wait...
posted by zanpo at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2002


Wheaton, Aspen Hill, et al are not exactly ghetto hoods. Leisure World is a retirement community ... the thought of people getting capped while just out pumping gas or going for a muffin and a latte at Starbucks is enough to make your blood run cold.

so if it *was* happening in the ghetto it wouldn't make your blood run cold? oh wait, it wouldn't even be on the news.
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:33 PM on October 3, 2002


Dreama, Reynolds was just wondering why none of the major news outlets were mentioning the possibility of terrorism, not that anyone is "immediately suspecting" that this is, for sure, terrorism.

Um, because it's pointless to speculate on a motive when we aren't even sure how many perps there are? Because it's media's job to inform, not run wild scenarios about what may be before knowing for sure what is? Because this is terrorism, by definition, and everyone knows it, but we needn't start pointing fingers anywhere and causing even more panic than already exists?
posted by Dreama at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2002


Glenn Reynolds had something to say about this? Wow, please tell me what Virginia Postrel's take on it is. Does kausfiles think we should cease the speculation for now? Or is he telling Glenn that Mr. Instapundit has overlooked a hidden, yet paradoxically obvious connection to welfare reform?
posted by raysmj at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2002


Because it's media's job to inform, not run wild scenarios about what may be before knowing for sure what is?

It's also media's job to ask questions. It would be irresponsible to speculate that terrorism is, in fact, the motive, without information. It would be equally irresponsible not to try to find out whether terrorism is, in fact, the motive.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2002


It's also media's job to ask questions

But not all at once. Let's get the basic whos, whats, and wheres nailed down before investigating the geopolitical ramifications. There'll be time for Orange Alert later.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on October 3, 2002


pardonyou?: According to Dreama, the question in question has been raised with law enforcement. What are you looking for, exactly?
posted by raysmj at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2002


pardonyou?: According to Dreama, the question in question has been raised with law enforcement. What are you looking for, exactly?

Nothing. If you look back, you'll see that I posted the following at 11:17 a.m. (MST): Obviously that happened during the news conference to which you refer. From my point of view that was the end of it. But Dreama submitted another post at 12:48 p.m. that explored a different issue. So I addressed that issue at 1:06 p.m.

More to the point, why do you care?
posted by pardonyou? at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2002


Why do I care? Because what Glenn Reynolds was suggesting was completely irresponsible. Besides, I hate seeing Glenn Reynolds' name brought in as if he's some sort of world authority on what's important. As far as I can tell, he has nothing in the way of credentials in the area of media coverage of emergencies. And he's doing the world no favors in encouraging speculation. He's sounding here like just another pundit, talking out of his ass. The traditional media have enough of those already.
posted by raysmj at 2:15 PM on October 3, 2002


Also: What was there in Dreama's post to suggest that she was against asking questions anway? Nothing.
posted by raysmj at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2002


This whole thing proves that law enforcement in its current form does not work. What we need is the ability to perform preemptive strikes on citizens that are considered threats to national and local security.

{Sighs... shakes head, rolls eyes}
posted by Witty at 2:25 PM on October 3, 2002


so if it *was* happening in the ghetto it wouldn't make your blood run cold? oh wait, it wouldn't even be on the news.

Yeah, I should have known someone was going to try to Pin the Klan Hood on the Honkey.

serafinapekkala, you're kind of including my retort in your response, but let's continue. Gunshots are a lot more common in certain neighborhoods (mine, for instance, thanks for asking) than they are in others. If you live in certain parts of Northeast, or Anacostia, or Suitland Heights, or any of the other dozen "bad neighborhoods" in and around DC, you become cognizant of certain realities--like people shoot other people, sometimes. You don't expect it in Wheaton.

I'd guess the murderer realizes that, too--it's like he's hunting staked prey. That (the hunting aspect of it) is what makes my blood run cold. I'd guess if Johnny Sniper Rifle were to try that shit in southeast, he'd have a lot fewer clueless targets.

People in those neighborhoods are more aware, due to the incidence of crime they've confronted in their day to day lives, and notice things like someone sitting in a white delivery van with an AWP sticking out of the window.

Feel free to resume your regularly scheduled jumping to conclusions, already in progess.

Everyone else--not sure if this has made national network news yet, but footage of a hole in a supermarket window--the murderer's first, and only missed, shot--is circulating on local TV. Judging from the size of the hole, it looks like he's firing at least a .308, and more probably a .50, so it's almost certainly a sniper rifle, and with six shots and five dead, we're dealing with someone who's comfortable with that particular piece of hardware. Hell, the first shot could have even been him sighting in and correcting for windage, who knows.

Here's to hoping they catch the sick fuck soon.
posted by KiloHeavy at 3:24 PM on October 3, 2002


KiloHeavy: ...more than likely scoped as well. Deer season is right around the corner (archery starts on Saturday in VA). Although either one of those two rifles you mentioned would be overkill for VA deer (unless you're lookin' at a 300+ yd. shot).

What am I talking about?
posted by Witty at 3:47 PM on October 3, 2002


They're indicating that it's probably not hate-crime related... the victims span the gamut -- white guy, black woman, white woman, hispanic man, etc.
posted by crunchland at 4:09 PM on October 3, 2002


Ahh...my school was one of those on lockdown. Our principal managed to panic a lot of people by telling us that the gunman had shot someone "in the front yard." A whole bunch of people took that as in the front yard of our school (which was totally wrong.)

We have open lunch at our school, so the lockdown mostly affected our lunch period -- everyone had to stay inside. And during classes we weren't supposed to go out in to the hallways. It was interesting.
posted by puffin at 4:10 PM on October 3, 2002


Everyone else--not sure if this has made national network news yet, but footage of a hole in a supermarket window--the murderer's first, and only missed, shot--is circulating on local TV.

It was actually a Michael's craft store, and if it was a typical Michael's, it's not a "shoot at somebody inside while sitting outside" kind of place because the windows are all covered with sales posters and various crafty things. (Wreaths and whatnot.) It would be nigh unto impossible to believe that the sniper was taking aim at someone in the store.

Judging from the size of the hole, it looks like he's firing at least a .308, and more probably a .50, so it's almost certainly a sniper rifle, and with six shots and five dead, we're dealing with someone who's comfortable with that particular piece of hardware.

Indeed. At one time, that would've sent the police looking for ex-military and SWAT, but nowadays it could be anyone.

Hell, the first shot could have even been him sighting in and correcting for windage, who knows.

Or, he was aiming for a random person in the parking lot who coincidentally, fortunately, bent over (to unlock their car, put something in their trunk, pick up a dropped key, whatever) at just the right moment and didn't even notice the shot that went whizzing overhead and ended up in the store a couple dozen yards away. If the sniper realized that he missed,
posted by Dreama at 4:22 PM on October 3, 2002


Everyone else--not sure if this has made national network news yet, but footage of a hole in a supermarket window--the murderer's first, and only missed, shot--is circulating on local TV.

It was actually a Michael's craft store, and if it was a typical Michael's, it's not a "shoot at somebody inside while sitting outside" kind of place because the windows are all covered with sales posters and various crafty things. (Wreaths and whatnot.) It would be nigh unto impossible to believe that the sniper was taking aim at someone in the store.

Judging from the size of the hole, it looks like he's firing at least a .308, and more probably a .50, so it's almost certainly a sniper rifle, and with six shots and five dead, we're dealing with someone who's comfortable with that particular piece of hardware.

Indeed. At one time, that would've sent the police looking for ex-military and SWAT, but nowadays it could be anyone.

Hell, the first shot could have even been him sighting in and correcting for windage, who knows.

Or, he was aiming for a random person in the parking lot who coincidentally, fortunately, bent over (to unlock their car, put something in their trunk, pick up a dropped key, whatever) at just the right moment and didn't even notice the shot that went whizzing overhead and ended up in the store a couple dozen yards away. If the sniper realized that he missed, he probably took off damned fast.
posted by Dreama at 4:23 PM on October 3, 2002


...authorities said Thursday they were looking for a "skilled shooter" suspected of felling each victim with a single bullet.

As is Ari Fleischer, apparently...
posted by GriffX at 4:47 PM on October 3, 2002


so this guy drives around in his white van and snipes people out of the window?
posted by illiterati at 10:44 PM on October 3, 2002


News and police reports now make it sound like a .223 rifle. Pretty common round, I think. Not a .50 or anything exotic like that. The banality of the weapon might make it tougher to track.
posted by NortonDC at 7:50 AM on October 4, 2002


I actually heard one newsy report that it was either a high powered rifle or shotgun....haHAhaHAhaha...friggin newsy lib idiots don't even know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. Who hires these incompetents?
posted by HTuttle at 7:52 PM on October 4, 2002


I think it was a high-powered automatic pump shotgun... with a silencer too. :P
posted by Witty at 1:48 AM on October 7, 2002


Witty... I was kidding.... :)
posted by zanpo at 7:44 AM on October 18, 2002


« Older Only in Iran, kissing a mid-age actress on an awar...  |  Evolution Robotics has just re... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments