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Sniper victim's wife: 'Pray for the attacker'

Doctor: Long, bumpy recovery process

Dr. Rao Ivatury
Dr. Rao Ivatury

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Interactive: The death penalty
• Interactive: Police close in
• Interactive: Suspects' trail
• Story: D.C. area victims
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The sniper task force has asked the person who left a message and phone number at the scene of a weekend shooting in Virginia to call. CNN's Bob Prasad reports. (October 21)
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Families mourn the sniper's latest victims as Washington area police continue their search. CNN's Ed Lavandera reports. (October 20)
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RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- The wife of the latest victim of the Washington-area sniper urged well-wishers Monday to pray for her husband's attacker and for an end to the attacks.

The 37-year-old man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was shot in the upper abdomen Saturday night in the parking lot of a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Virginia. He was in critical but stable condition Monday afternoon at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.

Investigators said Monday that ballistics evidence linked the shooting to the string of attacks that have killed nine people and wounded two others in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.(More on investigation) (Trail of the killer)

In a statement read by a hospital official, his wife thanked the people of Richmond, Ashland and her hometown for their support during what she called a "frightening and difficult time."

"The hospital has taken care of all of our needs, so there is no need to send anything other than continued prayer," she said. "Please pray also for the attacker and that no one else is hurt." (More on victims)

The couple is from out of state. Nancy Martin, a nurse in charge of the hospital's trauma program, read the statement. She said the man's wife spent Sunday holding her husband's hand.

The man faces three or four more operations and a risk of abdominal infections, but should recover normally, said Dr. Rao Ivatury. As of Monday afternoon, he was still on a ventilator, Ivatury said.

"Since last night he has stabilized. He remains stable. He is conscious," Ivatury said. "He is responding to his wife's voice. He's moving all his extremities. His vital signs have remained very stable, and all his numbers are coming back to normal."

Ivatury said the victim, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, "is a very, very strong man, and once he comes out of this I think he'll have a normal life. But it's going to be a bumpy road, a long process."

The bullet pierced the man's upper abdomen and tore through multiple organs. Ivatury said he had operated on the man twice since Saturday night.

Because of the extensive damage, Ivatury said, during the initial surgery he removed part of the stomach, the left half of the pancreas and the entire spleen.

Much of the second surgery involved putting "the stomach and intestines back together," he said.



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