Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose said in a press conference, ”The shooting in Montgomery County yesterday … is linked to the other shootings in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Spotsylvania County, Fairfax County, Prince William County and Hanover County, Virginia.”
Michael Bouchard of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed that ballistics and other evidence conclusively linked Tuesday’s shooting to the sniper, who has now killed ten people and wounded three others in the Washington D.C. area over the past three weeks.
Police confirmation that Conrad Johnson, a 35-year-old bus driver who was in fatally shot in Aspen Hill, Md. as he prepared his bus for its early morning route, is the sniper’s latest victim comes on the heels of a series of mysterious communications between police and the killer.
Late Tuesday, Moose revealed that a letter the sniper left at the scene of a shooting in Ashland, Va. over the weekend contained a threat aimed specifically at children.
The message, which Moose said came in the form of a “postscript,” contained the threat: “Your children are not safe anywhere at any time.”
During Wednesday’s news briefing, Bouchard defended investigators from criticism that they waited too long to reveal the sniper’s threat to children.
“We’re all parents and are certainly concerned about the safety of our kids and of our co-workers,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard said that if information was released “before we were ready for it to go out, it inhibits our ability to do the job we need to be doing.” He added that investigators are “confident that we’re going to resolve this” and that police are “one tip away” from making new strides in the case.
When pressed for further information on what progress investigators have made, Moose said it would be “inappropriate” to reveal details of the investigation status at this time.
Law enforcement officials from Virginia joined Moose in continuing to call on any and all witnesses with any information on the sniper’s 14 confirmed shootings to contact police via the tip line that has been set up to aid in the investigation
Moose also made a particular appeal to people in the community who may be hesitant to come forward due to their immigrant status, saying immigration issues shouldn’t deter anyone who may have information that could lead to an arrest.
“We just have concerns that some people in the immigrant community didn’t come forward,” Moose said, while adding that witnesses’ immigrant status is not the concern of the sniper task force.
The appeal to immigrants comes in the wake of officials detaining two immigrant workers driving a white minivan on Monday and subsequently turning the men over to federal authorities to face deportation hearings.
Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Paris Glendening announced Wednesday that the state would consider enlisting the protection of National Guard troops at polling stations if the sniper is not caught before the November 5th midterm Election Day.
“I’m hoping the person is brought to justice long before Election Day,” the governor said.