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Police Confirm Ninth Sniper Death

BY Admin  October 15, 2002 at 12:41 PM EDT

Fairfax County Police Chief Tom Manger identified the victim as Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington, Virginia. The victim worked for the FBI in a support capacity and had not been assigned to the bureau’s task force investigating the sniper shootings, FBI spokesman Barry Maddox told reporters.

Franklin was killed by a single shot to the head Monday night as she and her husband carried shopping bags to their car parked in front of a Home Depot store, Manger told reporters Tuesday morning.

The shooting occurred around 9:15 p.m. in the Seven Corners Shopping Center near Falls Church, Va., located near a busy intersection of major highways some 10 miles west of Washington, D.C.

Manger said police interviewed several witnesses who were able to provide details about a possible suspect.

“There was some additional information that we were able to get from last night’s case and I am confident that that information is going to lead us to an arrest in the case,” Manger said.

Manger declined to release specific information, but said witnesses told investigators license plate numbers of vehicles seen leaving the area last night.

“We got a number of license tags from witnesses. We are following up . . . but are not ready to release license plate information,” Manger told reporters.

Immediately after the shooting, police shut down several major highways in northern Virginia to search for the shooter.

“There are a fair number of ways to leave the area,” Manger said. “We made a number of traffic stops. I am unaware of any pursuits.” As of Tuesday morning, no arrests were reported.

Police say they’re on the lookout for a light-colored Chevrolet Astro van with a burned-out left rear tail light and a silver chrome ladder.

Virginia State Police said the van was last seen traveling east from Falls Church toward Washington, D.C. on U.S. Route 50, which is near Interstates 66 and 495.

The sniper has killed eight other people in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia and injured two others over the past two weeks.

Five of the deaths came in nearby Montgomery County, Md., one person was killed in Northwest Washington, D.C. and two others died in suburban Virginia. The other deaths linked to the sniper attacks were also results of single shots.

A 13-year-old boy in Bowie, Md. and a woman in Spotsylvania County, Va. were wounded in attacks that law enforcement officials linked to the sniper.