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Van shot twice on Interstate 70

May 25, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

A van carrying a woman and three of her children was hit by gunfire twice late Sunday while westbound on Interstate 70 near Md. 65, Maryland State Police said.

Capt. Rob Turano, commander of the Hagerstown barrack, said police were concerned the shooting could be a copycat sniper attack, although investigators had found little evidence in the case Monday.

A state police news release, issued Monday from headquarters in Pikesville, said a van driven by a 42-year-old woman, whose name and address were not released for "security reasons," was struck by two bullets at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The car also was carrying the woman's 15-, 12- and 8-year-old children, police said.

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Police said forensic experts determined one of the bullets entered the rear van door, passed through the rear seat where a child was laying, passed through the middle seat where another child was sitting and lodged in the driver's headrest. A second bullet entered the right rear quarter panel and lodged in insulation around a speaker, police said.

None of the van's occupants was struck by a bullet, police said.

Turano said the woman sustained a minor wound, a bump to her head when she was hit by debris.

Turano said police canvassed the area where they believed the shots were fired, although the exact location had not been identified by Monday evening.

Turano said investigators were not ruling out the possibility that someone was copying the 2002 sniper attacks to the east.

"It's always a concern when any vehicles are struck with gunfire," Turano said. "The fact of the matter is vehicles in Washington County have been struck with random gunfire in the past. It just gets more attention because of the sniper shootings."

Ten people were killed and three others were wounded during a spree in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., that began on Oct. 2, 2002. John Muhammad and John Malvo were arrested on Oct. 24, 2002, at a westbound I-70 rest area near the Washington/Frederick county line.

Juries in Virginia convicted each of the men, in separate trials, in connection with one of the shootings.

There was a series of sniper shootings in Ohio between May 2003 and late January. Twenty motorists were targeted during the period and one was fatally wounded.

State police ask that anyone with information on Sunday's shooting call 301-739-2101.

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