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W.Va. Investigators Get Sniper Spree Help

9:40 AM, Aug 19, 2003   |    comments
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Two victims of a gunman apparently stalking the Charleston area were buried on the same day authorities said they were getting "good advice" from investigators who helped crack last year's Washington-area sniper spree. "We have the agents that worked that particular case," Kanawha County Sheriff Dave Tucker said Monday. "They're on board with us and giving us some good advice, which we're following." The three West Virginia shootings echoed the killings that terrorized Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C, last fall. Many were single shots from far distances that felled people as they stopped at gas stations. The three West Virginia shootings happened outside convenience stores, where the victims were hit in the head or neck from at least 30 yards away as they pumped gas, talked on a pay phone or paid for milk at a walk-up window. Investigators in Montgomery County, Md., are offering advice including tips on organizing the investigation, how to respond to shootings and how to deal with the media, police spokesman Derek Baliles said. Private funerals were conducted Monday for Jeanie Patton, 31, and Okey Meadows Jr., 26, both of Campbells Creek. They were killed 90 minutes and 10 miles apart Thursday night. Their deaths came four days after Gary Carrier Jr., 44, of South Charleston, was fatally shot while talking on a pay telephone outside a Charleston Go-Mart. "Senseless. I mean, what's the reason? ... I don't understand the times we're living," the Rev. Bucky Hanson said following Patton's funeral. Police have not released the caliber of the weapon or said whether all three fatal shots were fired from the same weapon. No arrests have been made and authorities were sifting through leads. Tucker backed away from definitively declaring the shootings the work of one person. "We don't want to create tunnel vision, because you get into that stage, it's hard to get an investigator out of it," he said. Police also are looking for a dark color or maroon full-size pickup truck. Tucker backtracked from previous descriptions of the driver as a large white male, saying darkness may have obscured eyewitness views. Authorities on Monday released a poster with that description and photos of pickup trucks similar to one witnesses said they saw near two of the shootings. A task force of local, state and federal authorities set up headquarters over the weekend at the West Virginia National Guard Armory. It is similar to the Maryland task force that eventually arrested suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who have been linked to 20 shootings, including 13 killings, in Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. "It's eerie to hear (West Virginia police) saying the same things we said last October," Derek Baliles, a Montgomery County police spokesman said. Related articles: - W.Va. Shootings Prompt Increased Patrols - W.Va. Residents Fear Possible Sniper

Associated Press

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