A man was shot to death and a woman was critically wounded inside a Prince George's County veterinary hospital yesterday, county police reported.
Few details were released last night about the double shooting at Bladensburg Animal Hospital in the 5600 block of Annapolis Road. Police sources said authorities were trying to determine whether the shooting occurred during a robbery. No weapon had been recovered last night, officials said.
Police did not identify the victims, who were believed to be employees of the animal hospital. Records show that the hospital is operated by Nirman Thapar, 61, of Lanham, and is owned by him and his wife, Shashi. Relatives of Thapar could not be reached for comment last night.
The female victim was listed in critical condition last night at Prince George's Hospital Center. Authorities said that the woman had been able to speak a few words to emergency personnel who went to the animal hospital and that investigators were hoping that she would be able to tell them more about what happened.
Police were sent to the animal hospital, housed in a small residential-style building, shortly before 1:30 p.m. yesterday after a call to the Bladensburg Police Department. Authorities said they were trying to determine who placed the call.
The two victims were the only people in the building when officers arrived. Officials said that most items inside the business did not appear to have been disturbed and that they did not know whether a robbery had occurred.
"The investigation is ongoing. We're still looking for a possible motive and following up on all leads," said Cpl. Matt Meterko, of the Prince George's County police.
Police yesterday cordoned off the area in front of the two-level hospital, which specializes in boarding and grooming pets.
Thapar's small blue pickup truck with a "Veterinary Mobile" sign was in front of the hospital. A silver Mercedes-Benz was next to it. Otherwise, the parking lot was empty. A small "OPEN" sign hung in the hospital's lone window.
Catherine Harley, 18, who works next door to the animal hospital at the Hair Safari, said she did not hear any gunshots. She said she realized something was amiss only when police cars and an ambulance drove into the hospital's small parking lot.
She described Thapar as "a nice man," and said she often saw him consoling people in front of the hospital.
Thapar moved to Lanham within the last year, one neighbor said.
"He's a quiet guy. I didn't really get to know him," Mary Omade said.
Metro researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Police were investigating whether the double shooting at Bladensburg Animal Hospital occurred during a robbery.