DoD Alert: Marine Marathon Could Be TargetOctober 29, 2010 - 2:17 PM | by: Mike Levine
Senior officials are worried that the person responsible for at least three military-related shootings near the nation’s capital could target Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, saying in an alert Friday morning that the recent shootings “are a cause for concern” and could be build-up to a Sunday attack.
The FBI has confirmed that the same weapon was used in three recent incidents: one shooting more than a week ago at the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va., one two days later at the Pentagon, and one earlier this week at a vacant Marine recruiting station in Chantilly, Va. The FBI is still trying to confirm that a fourth shooting Friday morning is connected.
“All three shootings prior to [Friday's] shooting had the USMC [Marine Corps] as a common link,” said the note, issued by the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command to other parts of the military. “We cannot discount the three incidents as being a warning to the USMC to not run the marathon.”
While the alert noted that the incidents “occurred at night with no personnel on duty at the time,” yet another shooting confirmed from the same weapon “may indicate an emboldening of tactics, perhaps with an end state of taking operational action during the Marine Corps Marathon,” said the alert, obtained exclusively by Fox News.
At a press conference in Washington Friday afternoon, a top FBI official said authorities believe the person responsible for at least the first three shootings “has a grievance surrounding the U.S. Marine Corps.”
“It may be that he feels he has been wronged by the Corps in his professional and or personal life,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director John Perren, whose Washington Field Office has been leading the FBI investigation. “The subject of his grievance does appear to be the institution of the United States Marine Corps and not the individual men and women Marines for whom he may feel a great deal of respect, admiration and even loyalty.”
Perren said authorities “do not believe it is his intention to harm innocent citizens or Marines,” adding that the suspect “has attempted to avoid casualties by acting during the nighttime and non-business hours.” In fact, no one was injured in any of the shootings.
“Acting out in this way however can lead to disastrous and tragic consequences that we all wish to avoid,” Perren said.
As of Friday morning, according to the military’s alert, authorities had no information indicating that the latest shooting “has the same profile as the previous three incidents.”
Asked about any possible threat to the Marine Corps Marathon, Perren said “the public should be assured that everything possible will be done to keep this marathon safe.” Pentagon Police say they plan to ramp up security at Sunday’s event in Washington.
The FBI is asking the public to report any suspicious people or vehicles, but said it hopes the suspect will turn himself in.
The first bullet holes were found Oct. 17, when $20,000 worth of windows and glass was shattered at the Marine Corps Museum. Two day later, six shots were fired into the south side of the Pentagon, which will be serving as a staging area for runners and others during the Marine Corps Marathon. The suspect then struck the recruiting center. And overnight Thursday, shots were fired again at the museum, apparently from the side of the building facing Interstate 95.
The shootings all occurred with 40 miles of each other in northern Virginia.