Coast Guard Target of 5th Military ShootingNovember 2, 2010 - 1:30 PM | by: Justin Fishel
WASHINGTON — Prince William County police and the FBI responded to shots fired at a Coast Guard recruiting center in Woodbridge, Virginia Tuesday morning, the latest in a series of five non-lethal shootings at military related facilities in the Washington D.C. area.
So far the FBI has concluded three of the shootings are connected, saying last Thursday ballistic evidence shows the same weapon was used during shootings at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Virginia, and a Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia.
More testing is underway to determine if that same gun was used at today’s shooting, and another shooting last Friday at the Marine Corps museum. A law enforcement official told Fox that although they are still waiting for proof, investigators believe Friday’s shooting is connected. It’s believed the gunman is using a high-powered rifle, giving him the ability to shoot from a long distance.
Officials say it’s too early to say if Tuesday’s shooting is a copycat scenario, or yet another shooting by the same person.
Coast Guard Spokesman, Petty Officer David Marin, said the first person to arrive at the recruiting station Tuesday morning noticed a bullet lodged in the front door and a damaged window nearby. At around 7 a.m. the office commander called the police.
So far the shooter has demonstrated a pattern of firing at night when the buildings are vacant.
John Perren, the acting assistant director for the FBI’s Washington field office, said during a press conference last Friday that investigators believe the person takes issue with the institution of the Marines, but not those serving in uniform. The shooter has not hurt anyone in the attacks and authorities don’t believe the person wants to harm citizens or Marines.
The first in the series of shootings happened in the early morning hours of October 17, when police in Quantico, Virginia responded to shots fired at the Marine Corps Museum that destroyed $20,000 worth of glass panels.
A day later police and FBI investigators responded in force when six shots were fired into the south side of the Pentagon, leaving bullets embedded in two different windows. Investigators closed entrances to the Pentagon and shut down traffic on a major highway to search for evidence.
The third shooting occurred sometime overnight either late on the 18th or early on the 19th of October at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia.
Last Friday, shots were fired again at the Marine Corps Museum.
Authorities have yet to identify any suspects in the shootings, but are working under the assumption that the individual was part of the Marine Corps and possibly dealing with a traumatic event such as loss of a job, financial problems or divorce.
“We’d like to know what this grievance is and what we can do to try to help solve it,” Perren said. Perren urged anyone who may have information about the suspect to contact authorities and told people to quickly report gunfire or suspicious activity.