Residents and officials in a Virginia town are fearing the worst after mysterious shooting deaths began to occur again after a decade, the most recent being last Thursday when a 59-year old woman was killed in her home.
Police in Alexandria say there is a possibility that the man responsible for the most recent killings--that of Ruthanne Lodato last week and Ron Kirby in November--is the same man who shot Nancy Dunning in her home in 2003. Because all of the shootings happened within two miles of one another, authorities say they are looking for a connection between the victims, but are having no luck.
A police sketch has been released of the possible gunman, who was described by a victim who survived in Lodato's home as an older man, balding, with gray hair and a white beard. He was wearing a tan jacket when Lodato was shot.
As of now, Alexandria Mayor William Euille is loathe to call the murders the work of a serial killer due to the worry that residents will panic, but former FBI agent Brad Garrett says it is a distinct possibility, given the similarities of the crimes: each occurred in the late morning or early afternoon, there was no sign of forced entry, and there is the matter of the closeness in proximity.
“When you’re dealing with somebody, if this is one person, this is a very troubled person. And they can go dormant for a while before they reactivate,” Garrett said. “So is it conceivable that one guy did all three of these? And the answer is yes.”
The victims' only connection at this point is that they were all fairly well-known in Alexandria; Lodato was a music teacher, Ron Kirby was the director of transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Nancy Dunning was the wife of late sheriff James Dunning.
Nancy Dunning's daughter, Liz, said she was shocked and saddened to learn of Lodato's death last week.
“It’s heartbreaking there is another family that is experiencing this type of loss without answers,” she said.
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