TOPICS > Politics

Shooting of Maryland Bus Driver May Be Work of D.C.-Area Sniper

BY Admin  October 22, 2002 at 6:23 PM EDT

Hours after the shooting, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose revealed part of a message apparently left by the sniper at the scene of the Saturday evening shooting of a 37-year-old man outside of a restaurant in Ashland, Va.

The message, which Chief Moose said came in the form of a “postscript,” contained the chilling threat, “Your children are not safe anywhere at anytime.”

“We feel it’s important to provide this information to the public,” Moose said of the sniper’s message. “We are not providing the remaining content of the message. It does not communicate to the public.”

Moose added that the police “will be responding soon” to a message he says they have received and stated his concerns for “the safety of all the people in our region.”

“The person or people have demonstrated a willingness and ability to shoot people of all ages, all races, all genders and they’ve struck at different times of the day, different days at different locations,” Moose said.

Moose has repeatedly encouraged those responsible for the sniper shootings to communicate with police, going before television cameras twice on Monday to plead with the killer to contact authorities.

Tuesday’s victim, Conrad Johnson, a 35-year-old bus driver and father of two, was preparing for his bus route shortly before 6 a.m. in Aspen Hill, Maryland when he was shot as he stood at the top of the steps of his bus. Johnson was rushed to a nearby hospital but later died of his wounds.

Police immediately closed many roads around the site of the shooting, which is approximately 15 miles north of downtown Washington. Authorities flooded the crime scene and established checkpoints at various locations around the Capital Beltway. The roadblocks were lifted within a matter of hours.

Although it bears many of the characteristics of the sniper’s past shootings, Johnson’s death has not been definitively linked to the work of the sniper, pending a police investigation of ballistics evidence. If the bullet or other evidence is linked to those of the earlier shootings, Johnson will become the killer’s 13th victim in the past three weeks.

The victim of Saturday’s shooting remains in critical, but stable condition at a Richmond hospital after doctors removed his spleen and parts of his pancreas and stomach. Police were able to confirm a link to the sniper after ballistics tests were conducted on the bullet surgeons retrieved from the man Sunday.