Victims connected only in death
ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- Authorities searching for the sniper who killed six people and wounded two others in a week-long killing spree in the Washington area have revealed nothing to connect the victims.
The victims appear to have been selected at random and were as different as eight people could be from one another. They were men and women of different races and walks of life, ranging in age from 13 to 72.
The only thing that seems to connect them is that they were minding their own business and carrying out the mundane chores of life.
James D. Martin, a program analyst at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was standing in the parking lot of a Wheaton, Maryland, grocery store on October 2, when he was killed. He was there to buy groceries for his church.
The 55-year-old was an amateur genealogist and a Civil War buff. He is survived by his wife and the 11-year-old son he doted over.
James "Sonny" Buchanan was known as a man with a big heart who was always ready to help others.
The 39-year-old son of a retired Montgomery County police officer was an active volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club. He was an amateur poet and taught children how to garden.
"Sonny was the dad to literally 400 kids. He came to the club two or three times a week, helped with homework, etcetera," said Gregory Wims, a friend and fellow volunteer at the club.
Buchanan used run a landscaping company but had gotten out of the business. He was mowing the lawn of a former customer's car dealership near Rockville, Maryland, early on October 3, when he was shot in the chest and killed.
About a half-hour later, Prem Kumar Walekar, 54, was shot and killed while filling his car with gas. It was his 25th wedding anniversary.
"I just want everybody to know that my dad was, he was the greatest person I ever met, you know, I ever knew," said Walekar's son Andrew. "I'm glad he was my father."
Ordinarily, the part-time taxi driver would not have been at the gas station at that time of day, but he was trying to finish his runs early so he could enjoy the warm, afternoon weather.
Walekar was born in India and had hoped to retire there.
Sarah Ramos and Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera also died that morning. Ramos, 34, was sitting on a bench reading outside a shopping center when she was shot in the head and killed.
She was an immigrant from El Salvador, who was a member of several church groups and babysat for a number of children and worked as a housekeeper.
"The thing that impressed me about Sara, when she walked into the room, not just a person walked in the room but something walked in the room with her," said Larry Gaffigan, her employer. "Something that just warmed the house and your soul."
Ramos was married and had a 7-year-old son.
Lewis-Rivera was getting ready to vacuum out her van at a Kensington gas station when she, too, was killed that same day.
She grew up in a small town in Idaho and recently moved east with her husband and pre-school-aged daughter. She was 25 years old.
"I mean, she comes and goes, and all of a sudden she gets caught up in this, it's just devastating," said a neighbor, Rosa Malon. "There's no words for it."
Pascal Charlot, 72, who was killed late Thursday night on a Washington street, was the only person killed in the nation's capital, and the only one attacked at night.
Charlot emigrated to the United States from Haiti and was a retired carpenter. He is survived by his wife.
The next day, a 43-year-old woman was shot and critically injured on October 4 in a Fredericksburg, Virginia, parking lot. She was later released from the hospital and was not identified.
The sniper's eighth victim was a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the abdomen after his aunt dropped him off to start the day at a middle school in Maryland's Prince George's County on October 7.
His aunt, a nurse, rushed him to a local hospital. He was airlifted to a Washington hospital where doctors removed his spleen and parts of his stomach and pancreas. As of Wednesday, he was in critical but stable condition and was on a ventilator.
The sniper's latest victim was identified as Dean Harold Meyers, 53, who was fatally shot as he pumped gas Wednesday night at a station in Manassas, Virginia. Meyers was a resident of Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is located in Montgomery County.