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Plea for help in Maryland shootings

Five shot dead in Washington suburb

From Fran Lewine (CNN)

Chief Charles Moose: Killer or killers are
Chief Charles Moose: Killer or killers are "very calculating."

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Montgomery County police are looking for two men in a white truck or van in connection with the killings of five people, CNN's Bob Franken reports (October 3)
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ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- Police hunted a "very calculating" killer or killers Thursday who shot to death three men and two women in what they believe were random incidents, all outside, over 15 hours in the affluent Washington suburb of Montgomery County.

Officials reached out to the public for help and offered a reward.

"If you have any information at all that you think might be helpful, please call 240-777-2600," said Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan. "We're also offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever is responsible for this."

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose appealed to anyone who might have seen something out of the ordinary to notify police.

"Please, please, we need people to talk to us," he said. "Let us piece it together. This is not some lightning bolt from the sky. Somebody knows; somebody saw it."

The killings were out of character for the area, he said. "Nothing like this has ever happened in Montgomery County. This is a very safe community. Our homicide rate just increased by 25 percent in one day."

All public schools in Washington, D.C., and in the Maryland suburbs of Montgomery and Prince George's counties canceled outdoor activities.

"We strongly believe all of these are connected," Moose told reporters. He said his statement was based on the weaponry used, but did not elaborate.

Moose said police believe the victims were randomly selected. "These are simply victims and we need to figure out a way to stop this," he said. Moose described the killer or killers as "very calculating."

Authorities were looking for a "white, box-type vehicle, possibly an Isuzu" with a damaged rear door, that was seen leaving the area of a post office where a man was killed.

Tip Line:
$50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in shooting.

Suspect Vehicle:
White, box-type vehicle, possibly an Isuzu or a Mitsubishi, with black lettering on the side and a damaged rear lift. 

According to police:

  • The first killing happened at about 6 p.m. ET Wednesday when James Martin, 55, was gunned down coming out of a supermarket in Wheaton.
  • Police learned of the first Thursday attack at 7:41 a.m., when they got a call about James L. Buchanan, 39, who was shot while mowing his lawn at an address on Rockville Pike.
  • Less than an hour later, police received another call, this time reporting Prenkumar Walekar, 54, was shot while gassing up a minivan at a Mobil station on Aspen Hill Road.
  • Sarah Ramos, 34, was killed Thursday at the post office in a retirement community called Leisure World.
  • Laurie Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, was shot dead Thursday while vacuuming her car at a nearby Shell gas station at Connecticut and Knolls avenues.
  • The owner of the Shell gas station said of Lewis-Rivera: "She was, like, her legs were underneath the car and the door was open," said John Mistry.

    The station is about three miles from the Mobil station and within five miles of the Rockville Pike location. "We thought she had a heart attack or something like that," Mistry said.

    "At this point, we have very little hard evidence to deal with," Moose said.

    He asked residents not to call 911 unless they truly had an emergency, since the system was being inundated with calls about the killings.

    "We don't have the resources to respond to every white van, but we will make those priority decisions," he said.

    Authorities were discussing strategies with neighboring agencies. "We'll use all and any available resources," Moose said.

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