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I’m sure he bought the AR-15 rifle with the extended scope and .223 rounds for hunting elk, though. I almost FOIB’d, but decided not to FOIB, an article a couple of weeks ago about how the manufacturers of some of America’s most powerful sniper rifles have lost track of their whereabouts. Those rifles in question were .50 caliber though.. if someone got loose and crazy with a .50 caliber rifle in the suburbs of washington, you’d need to fingerprint the victims to figure out who they are. A .50 caliber head shot would pretty much obliterate the entire head of the victim. Any bets on how long it will take for Bush to expose for us the obvious Al Quaeda ties of the shooter here? -Ian.

——{08164C9D-5C06-490A-A4C1-ED6E833B9DE4} Sniper a ‘psychopath playing god’ FBI profiling: Killings are like ‘psychological Viagra’ for shooter Jan Cienski, with files from Michael Friscolanti National Post

BETHESDA, MD. – The sniper terrorizing suburban Washington after killing as many as six people with a high-powered rifle in less than a day is likely a stone-cold psychopath who is relishing the “heroin-like high” of deciding who lives and who dies, says a former FBI profiler. Despite a massive law enforcement effort, hundreds of calls to a tip line, aerial searches with helicopters and police pulling over dozens of suspicious vehicles, authorities were still stumped about the identity of the killer or killers. “We’re operating under the pretence that they are still in the area,” said Charles Moose, the Montgomery County Police Chief. Late yesterday afternoon, police got word the sniper may have struck again. A woman loading purchases into her minivan at a mall near Fredericksburg, Va., about 60 kilometres south of the U.S. capital, was shot in the back but survived. The other shootings occurred about 10 km north of Washington. Investigators were being sent from Maryland to see if the cases were related.

Police were also investigating whether the killer or killers had claimed a sixth victim: a 72-year-old man killed by a single shot to the chest Thursday night while standing on a street corner in the District of Columbia, a few blocks from the Maryland state line. Few other clues emerged over the course of the day, but police speculated the shooter is teamed up with a driver, and the two may have been using a white delivery truck, seen by a witness leaving the scene of one of the killings. “You’ve got a driver, you’ve got a shooter,” Chief Moose said.

Although only fragments of bullets were found at the murder scenes, police were fairly certain the killer or killers were using a .223-calibre high-velocity rifle. Each of the victims shot Wednesday and Thursday was killed with a single bullet. “We’re dealing with someone shooting from a distance, someone using a high-velocity round,” Chief Moose told reporters. At a press conference yesterday, police and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showed several weapons that could shoot the small-calibre rounds, including a hunting rifle mounted with telescopic sights and a semi-automatic military-style rifle called the Colt AR15, similar to the U.S. Army’s M-16s. Unfortunately for police, such rifles are commonly available throughout the United States, although authorities were checking gun-store records to see whether there have been any recent purchases. The fact all the victims were killed with a single shot, and at least one died from a shot to the head, indicates the killer could have military training, said Clinton Van Zandt, a former profiler for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. “The more evidence we see of a head shot, the more evidence we have of military or paramilitary experience, rather than a hunter who shoots at the broad side of a deer and not the head of a human,” he said. That still does not give police much to go on.

A US$50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an indictment. Police have received more than 200 telephone tips, many of them about loud noises and bangs that were investigated but turned up no more leads. Faced with the daunting prospect of a killer who may have gunned down his victims from up to 600 metres away, then driven off before anyone noticed, authorities are turning to FBI profilers to try to sketch the kind of personality behind the killing spree. According to Mr. Van Zandt, the statistical likelihood is that the killing has been done by two people, probably young white men. If that is correct, the shooter is the dominant partner in the relationship and the driver is subordinate. “They would feed off each other,” said Mr. Van Zandt, “giving each other high-fives and saying, ‘Wasn’t that a good shot!,’ giving each other emotional fuel.” Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Centre on Violence & Conflict at Northeastern University at Boston, said the pair likely consider the crimes to be nothing more than “a team sport.” The men are inspired by one another, Mr. Levin said, finding “insanity within the relationship.” “A lot of people will do things with their friends that they wouldn’t dream of doing alone,” he said. “They don’t want to let down their buddy. It’s a sign of loyalty; it’s a common bond.” Mr. Levin, who has written numerous books on murderers, said the men are probably social outcasts who desperately crave the international attention their killing spree has triggered. “They were very likely rejected, had suffered a lot — especially the shooter — and they decided to get even, while at the same time having a good laugh at our expense,” he said. But Mr. Van Zandt says it’s too early to say exactly what set off the killings. “It’s one or two individuals who for whatever reason decided to level the playing field, thumbing their nose at law enforcement and society,” he said. “This is someone who is playing God. He can sit there with a rifle and point it at two or three people say, ‘Click … Click … Bang.’ This is psychological Viagra.” The first shooting happened Wednesday night, when James Martin, 55, was shot while crossing a grocery store parking lot. Forty minutes earlier someone had fired a round through a nearby store window, but no one was hurt. Then the killers “punched out and went to bed and stopped killing,” Mr. Van Zandt said. “That takes it past someone who is angry, frustrated and went out and shot someone and then said, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ This is someone much more cold-blooded. “The next day they go back to work like you, and I would go to the office. Their job is shooting people down. This is a stone-cold anti-social personality.” About 13 hours after Mr. Martin died, landscaper James “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, was killed at 7:41 on Thursday morning while cutting grass at a car dealership. Prenkumar Walekar, 54, was shot at about 8:12 a.m., while pumping gas into his cab. About 30 minutes later, Sarah Ramos, 34, died while sitting on a bench outside a Post Office waiting for a ride. In the fifth shooting, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, was shot and killed at about 10 a.m. while she vacuumed her van at a gas station. The apparently random shootings set off a panic in the U.S. capital equalled only by the terror instilled by the Sept. 11 attacks. Schools kept students indoors for recess and lunch yesterday and Thursday. Panicky parents refused even to let their children play in the yard. Many businesses noticed a drop off in customers. As a nervous and unarmed security guard stood watch outside a grocery store in Rockville, Md., a passer-by noted, “He’s not going to be much help if there’s a guy with a rifle 500 yards from here.” Despite the panic, Mr. Van Zandt said the crimes were “eminently solvable,” especially if someone who knows the killer or the killer calls police. Once the authorities get close, there is nothing about the crimes to suggest the killers intend to surrender. “I don’t think they will willingly go to jail,” Mr. Van Zandt said.

“If they are able to they will force the police into a confrontation in which they will be killed.” jcienski [at] nationalpost [dot] com