So far, sniper has pattern of weekday attacks

The sniper who has killed nine people in the Washington, D.C. region in the last 13 days has left local, regional and federal law enforcement officials working to figure out his next move — and to get him before he kills again.

Prior to the shooting at a Falls Church Home Depot on Monday night, which police have not yet definitively linked to the sniper, the killer had last struck on Friday morning.

Kenneth Bridges, 53, of Philadelphia was felled at 9:30 a.m. as he filled his car at an Exxon at Four-Mile-Fork in Spotsylvania. The sniper also struck Oct. 9 near Manassas on Sudley Road, off Interstate 66, killing Dean Harold Meyers, 53, of Gaithersburg, Md., as he prepared to pump gas.

The killer refrained from firing any shots Saturday or Sunday, establishing a pattern of not firing on the weekend.

After an Oct. 4 shooting of a woman in Spotsylvania, the killer laid low until Oct. 7, when a 13-year-old boy going into Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md. was shot. Montgomery County, Md. Police Chief Charles Moose said in a Friday press conference that he didn’t want to “make any assumptions about any kind of pattern.”

Some experts believe however, that the killer’s time must be accounted for on the weekends, and that the killer has the availability in his or her job and schedule to kill during the week without raising many suspicions in those around him or her.

Another expert, Joseph McNamara, research fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University and former police chief from Kansas City, Mo., and San Jose, Calif., said the killer may be refraining from firing on the weekend because of superstition.

McNamara said many criminals find that they are comfortable with doing things a certain way and may feel “lucky,” if they’ve been what they would consider successful.

“It’s not unusual for these types of series criminals to follow patterns,” McNamara said. “The person in their own warped mind has been successful thus far, so they’ll have a kind of superstition in trying to follow a kind of pattern.”

He said in terms of superstition, the killer may be similar to some burglars who will always enter a building on its second floor, even if the first floor is more accessible.

McNamara said the fact that the killer fires only one shot could be indicative of arrogance among other things.

“It could mean caution,” he said. “It could mean that this person is showing us they only need one shot.”

McNamara said that although there are good reasons for keeping information from the public, in a case like this, the public is the best asset the authorities have in trying to solve the case. He said the “Unabomber approach” to releasing information may help a person close to the killer realize his identity.

He was referring to the case in which a Montana man was convicted for targeting universities, airports and CEOs with bombs sent through the mail or left for people to find. When a manifesto written by the bomber was published in newspapers across the country, David Kazcinski recognized the writings as that of his brother Ted. He contacted the FBI and his brother was arrested and convicted of murder.

Authorities believe the killer lives or works in the Washington area, because he seems to know and be comfortable with the roadways.

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