A mysterious gunman has shot up a series of D.C. area military buildings in recent weeks, stymieing local and federal investigators, alarming residents who live near the nation’s capitol and evoking memories of the Beltway sniper shooting spree nearly a decade ago.
Law enforcement officials have yet to figured out who is behind the five shootings, which began in mid-October. But federal agents have linked all five incidents after analyzing the type of weapons being used, Andy Ames, a spokesman for the FBI Washington Field Office told TPMMuckraker on Wednesday.
There are a few common elements of the shootings. Each incident has taken place in the middle of the night. No one has been injured, as all of the shots have been aimed at buildings. And all of those buildings have had ties to the military.
The string of incidents began on Oct. 17, when bullet holes were found in the windows of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va. There were at least 10 rounds that were fired in the early morning, said museum officials.
Just two days later, the gunman struck again. In the early morning hours of Oct. 19, guards at the Pentagon heard five to seven shots fired in the area around the south parking lot, which lays between the highway and the military complex. An investigation revealed that rounds had hit two bullet-proof windows on the third and fourth floors of the building.
Things were quiet until Oct. 26, when a Marine who worked at a Marine Corps Recruiting Station undergoing renovations in a Chantilly, Va. strip mall arrived for work and discovered the shooting there. The gunman also struck a nail salon located next door to the recruiting center. By that time, the FBI had already connected the previous two shootings.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps was targeted for a second time on Oct. 29, when shots were fired at the museum.
Early on Tuesday morning the gunman struck again, hitting a window of a U.S. Coast Guard recruiting center at the Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge, Va. The shooting was discovered after an employee of the shopping center arrived for work at about 7:30 a.m, TBD reported.
Given that the shooter has targeted military buildings like the Marine Corps recruiting station and the Pentagon, an FBI official surmised he could have a grudge against the Marines. The individual, possibly a Marine, may have been in the midst of a personal crisis or could be acting on a grievance against the Marine Corps, said John Perren, acting assistant director of the FBI’s D.C. office.
Other details are scare, as the FBI is not releasing what type of weapon or which caliber of bullet was used, the Associated Press reported. Local officials have mostly keeping mum about the investigations, deferring to the feds. A Marine Corps official did not return a message left Wednesday, and the Coast Guard has declined to comment.
A local news report on the latest shooting is embedded below.