FBI: Shooter could be a Marine

The same gun was used to shoot at the Pentagon and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Northern Virginia earlier this month, the FBI said Tuesday. Investigators are also trying to determine if a third recent shooting is also related.
By Maria Glod and Kafia Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 30, 2010; 2:48 AM

The shooter who has targeted three U.S. military sites in Northern Virginia in recent weeks may be a Marine or someone with a grievance against the U.S. Marine Corps, federal officials said Friday.

FBI officials released a limited profile of the suspect after he or she shot again at the Marine Corps museum near Quantico - the same place the shooter started almost two weeks ago.

FBI officials also tried to coax the shooter to contact them, promising to try to resolve whatever is bothering him or her.

Authorities stressed that the identity and motive of the shooter remains unknown. They said the involvement of a service member is only one possibility they are investigating.

Officials stressed that the shooter has not yet displayed any intention of hurting or killing anyone. So far, the shooter has struck overnight or in the early morning hours when no one would be around the facilities.

But because they think Marine Corps locations are being singled out, security has been stepped up for Sunday's Marine Corps marathon.

As they try to track down the elusive shooter, FBI officials have pieced together a profile. "We believe the suspect has a grievance surrounding the U.S. Marine Corps," said John Perren, acting head of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "We'd like to know what this grievance is, and what we can do to try and resolve it. We're willing to listen to him and hear his side of the story."

The shooter may have a grudge against the Marine Corps as an institution, but could hold the servicemen and women in high regard, officials said. He or she may recently have experienced a trauma such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. The shooter likely is familiar with the Northern Virginia area, and if the shooter lives with family or friends, may have offered excuses after slipping away at night.

"It may be that he feels he's been wronged by the Corps in his professional or personal life," Perren said.

Perren said the shooter may be under stress, and found some relief in shooting at buildings. He urged that person to reach out to authorities by going to local police, or calling 911 or the FBI at 202-278-2000.

The unexplained spree of shootings began the night of Oct. 16 or into the next morning when bullets were fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle. In the following days, ballistics evidence has shown, the same weapon was used to shoot at the Pentagon and an unoccupied Marine Corps recruiting center in Chantilly. In each case, windows were struck.

The museum again was targeted overnight Thursday. The most recent incident had not been conclusively linked to the other three by forensic evidence, but authorities think it is the work of the same person or people.

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