West Virginia shootings police confident
Composite sketch of suspect in the works
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -- Detectives investigating three shooting deaths in West Virginia believe they are closing in on the killer and a composite picture of their prime suspect is being compiled.
Police are also looking to see if illegal drugs may provide a connection between the three apparently random killings, authorities said Wednesday.
The victims -- two men and a woman -- were each killed with a single bullet to the head shot from a distance prompting fears of a sniper, similar to the one that terrorized the Washington area last year, operating in the Charleston area.
Kanawha County Sheriff Dave Tucker told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the focus of the investigation has narrowed. "We feel that it more or less points down to one person," he said.
However, another law enforcement source told CNN that investigators had 10 possible suspects under surveillance.
The composite sketch of the suspect that is being drawn for investigators is based on a detailed description of the man given by a witness to police
It shows a tall white man linked to a dark pickup truck seen at the sites of two of three fatal shootings, officials said. The man was described as six feet tall, with a beard and a trim build -- not heavy-set, as described by a previous witness.
The witness saw the suspect outside a dark pickup truck, several days before the shootings. Other witnesses noticed the pickup truck at the two convenience stores in the days before the shootings.
"We are looking at drug connections," said Kanawha County Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Morris.
"It appears like it is drug-related, and I would be remiss if I did not get this out to the public," he added
Morris said he and other authorities met Tuesday with one of the victims' family, which had brought forward an individual who said "cocaine is possibly involved."
A state crime laboratory has linked two of the shootings through ballistics evidence, determining that the same .22-caliber weapon, possibly a rifle, was used in both shootings.
Jeanie Patton, 31, was killed about 10:30 p.m. August 14 at a Speedway gas station on Campbell Creek Road south of Charleston. About an hour later, Okey Meadows, 26, was fatally shot at a Go-Mart on U.S. 60 east of the city.
Lab results on another fatal shooting at a gas station -- the August 10 shooting death of Gary Carrier, 44 -- have been inconclusive as to a link with the other shootings, Morris said. Carrier was shot in the head while using a pay phone outside the store after 11 p.m.
Authorities also released a computer generated drawing of a dark-colored, possibly maroon, full-size pickup -- perhaps a Ford F-150 -- seen at two of the shootings.
A witness saw a truck at the Go-Mart where Meadows was killed last week and told police it had waited at the store for up to 20 minutes before speeding away after the shooting.
Morris said the truck is "definitely" involved in the August 14 shootings and released a computer generated drawing of the vehicle.