Shooting confirmed as sniper

FALLS CHURCH – Authorities said this morning that ballistics tests link last night’s sniper attack at a Seven Corners shopping center to 10 others in the Washington metropolitan and Fredericksburg areas.

Fairfax County Police Chief Tom Manger identified the victim as Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington. She was killed by a single shot while returning to her car after shopping at a Home Depot.

Nine people have now died in the sniper attacks and two have been wounded.

Manger told reporters today that police are still looking for a light-colored van with a ladder rack and an apparent malfunctioning left tail light.

“We’re still at the early stages of this investigation,” said Manger. “We’re still in the process of interviewing witnesses and evaluating the information that we have.”

Manger deflected a number of questions about whether witnesses last night were able to see the shooter long enough for police to finally put together a composite sketch or other description.

“There was some additional information that we were able to get from last night’s case,” Manger said. “I am confident that information will ultimately lead us to an arrest in the case.”

When asked why police would not release any information about a possible description of the suspect, he said authorities were still evaluating statements from witnesses.

He said he would not confirm a statement by Gov. Mark R. Warner’s office that witnesses had seen at least part of the numbers on a Maryland license tag on the van.

Manger said there were many witnesses with statements about licenses and he declined to comment.

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