WASHINGTON – Authorities say it may be just a bizarre
coincidence, but they’re not ready to rule it out as a
lead in the Beltway sniper case.
Nine of the 11 reported shootings in the last 10 days
have occurred at or near Michaels crafts stores, a
popular chain for holiday decorations. There are fewer
than 20 stores in the Beltway area.
- The series of gunshots began Oct. 2 at around 5:20 p.m. when a single bullet pierced a window of a Michaels store in Aspen Hill, Md. It was the only miss of the 11 shots.
- Over the next 17 hours, five people were gunned down by single shots in Aspen Hill and near Rockville, Md., where Michaels operates another store.
- On Oct. 4, a woman was shot in the back outside a Michaels craft store in Fredericksburg, Va.
- On Oct. 7, a 13-year-old boy was shot outside Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., which is not far from a Michaels store at Bowie Gateway Shopping Center. It’s the only Michaels location between Washington and Annapolis, Md.
- Yesterday a man was shot and killed at a Sunoco gas station in Manassas, Va., not far from Michaels’ Manassas site.
A manager there dismissed any connection, estimating the gas station is nearly a mile away.
“It’s just a coincidence,” he said.
The fatal shooting this morning at an Exxon station in Fredericksburg was not near the Michaels where the woman was shot last week. A white cargo-like van was seen leaving the scene.
The Michaels chain does not use white delivery vehicles, says a manager of a Michaels store in Vienna, Va.