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FBI: 'We need the public's help'

Authorities describe two men sought for questioning

Police say they want to talk to the man shown in this composite sketch.
Police say they want to talk to the man shown in this composite sketch.

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Police links all three shooting deaths in Charleston, West Virginia.
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Sources say a task force is getting leads in the shootings and narrowing its list of suspects.
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TIP HOTLINE
If you have information on the shootings, call the task force at:
Kanawha County, West Virginia, Sheriff's Department
(304) 357-0169
or
West Virginia Watch
(866) 989-2824
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Police links all three shooting deaths in Charleston, West Virginia.
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CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -- Investigators said Friday that they have received more than 600 leads but appealed for even more in their quest to find the shooter or shooters responsible for the recent killings of three people outside area convenience stores.

"We need the public's help," said Ken McCabe, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, division, which includes West Virginia.

Gary Carrier, 44, was shot dead August 10 outside a Go-Mart store on the west side of Charleston.

Jeanie Patton, 31, was killed about 10:30 p.m. August 14 at a Speedway filling 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.

Authorities released a composite sketch Thursday night of a heavyset, goateed man who was reportedly seen behind the wheel of a dark pickup truck in the vicinity one of the August 14 shootings. McCabe urged anyone with information about the subject to call 866-989-2824 or 304-357-0169.

"We would like to identify this person," McCabe said. "You may remain anonymous."

"We just want to talk to him," another task force member said, referring to the man. "We don't know if he is the driver, the shooter or just someone who might be able to help us."

Authorities also want to talk with a tall, thin person "with what were described as hairy, white legs" who might have information regarding one of the August 14 shootings, McCabe said.

The man was connected to a light-colored truck, similar to the dark-colored one, that was seen in the vicinity of the shooting, about 18 hours before it occurred. "We do not believe he is a suspect," McCabe said.

Asked why the man was being sought, McCabe said, "To see if he has any information that could help us, having been seen in that area, and he drives a similar truck, and in order to eliminate him."

A task force of representatives from nearly 20 law enforcement agencies has been established to help solve the case, Sheriff Dave Tucker said.

"It consists of scores of agents and officers who are working on the cases 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "It is committed to solving these crimes."

Callers have identified friends, acquaintances and at least one known criminal who might be the man in the drawing, task force investigators said. The response has encouraged them.

"This case is solvable," one task force investigator told CNN.

Also Friday, authorities carried out a crime-scene reconstruction at one of the convenience stores.

So far, authorities have suggested no motive, and it is not clear whether the killings were random.

McCabe gave little weight to suggestions by the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department that the killings might be connected to the drug trade.

"That is one of the avenues that is being investigated by the task force, as is all possible theories," he said.

Earlier, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones was even less supportive of a possible association.

"That has not been established by the task force," he told CNN. "That's the sheriff operating on his own theory, perhaps through his own department. The task force has not established that. Right now, it's so completely premature to say that."

Jones said police are assuming the shooter or shooters are in West Virginia.

"We have a lot of valleys, a lot of mountains, a lot of ridges," he said. "Somebody could hide here. But we have to operate on the theory that he is still in the area."

Fourth shooting investigated

Police also are investigating a shooting at a convenience store near Charleston late Wednesday that resembled the three fatal attacks in the area.

A teenage girl reported a shot fired at a Go-Mart in Dunbar, west of Charleston, at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to Dunbar police Capt. Randy Gillespie. She also said she saw a maroon, full-sized pickup approach the convenience store before she heard the shot.

No one was injured. Investigators say there is little to connect the fourth incident with the previous shootings, and they have found no sign that any building or vehicle was hit by the reported gunshot.

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The killings have stunned residents of the Charleston area, raising fears of sniper attacks similar to those that terrorized the Washington area last year. Business at area convenience stores appears to have dropped, but other areas of the city's business community appear unaffected, Jones said.

"I think that things are somewhat normal."

As was the case in Washington, police have a plan to blockade possible escape routes in the event of a new shooting, task force investigators said.

CNN correspondent Art Harris contributed to this story.


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