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Police hunt for killer in Maryland shootings

ROCKVILLE, Md. — One of the six people killed in a suburban Washington shooting spree was buried Sunday as investigators completed a geographic profile they hope will help lead them to the killer.

Police also were awaiting an FBI psychological profile of the shooter, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose said. The geographic profile maps the crime locations to possibly determine where the killer lives.

Moose said investigators were making progress, but added, “Some of the more desirable smoking gun leads just aren’t there.”

While the search continued, family and friends gathered to bury Prem Kumar Walekar, a taxi driver slain Thursday at an Aspen Hill gas station.

Nieces and nephews sang songs and remembered a man they called “Prem Uncle” while standing under a video screen that flashed snapshots from his life. Walekar, 54, was remembered as quiet, funny, generous and caring, a man who showed his affection with a gentle pinch of a child’s cheek.

Family friend Lazarus Borge told the mourners Walekar “was indiscriminately shot dead by an elusive assailant, those evil hands entered his life like a snap, in an instant.”

Walekar was one of five people shot to death at random in Montgomery County in a 16-hour span Wednesday and Thursday. A sixth victim was killed Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Tests conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed that the same weapon was used to kill Walekar and three other victims.

Investigators said Sunday that ballistics evidence also linked the shooting of a 43-year-old woman in Spotsylvania County, Va., on Friday with the Maryland murders. She was shot in the back in a parking lot at a Michael’s craft store at about 2:30 p.m. in Fredericksburg, Va.

She was in stable condition Sunday at INOVA Fairfax Hospital.

A window of a Michael’s store in Montgomery County was shot out 45 minutes before the first killing, but ATF agent Michael Bouchard said Sunday that a bullet obtained from that scene was too badly damaged to be of any use in the investigation.

Tests were still under way to determine any links to the other fatal shootings, both in Montgomery County, on the outskirts of Washington. But Moose said Sunday he suspects all the shootings are linked.

No arrests have been made in the spree. A 33-year-old Maryland man was being held on an unrelated charge, but Moose stressed that the man was not a suspect in the spree and no weapons were found with him.

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan appealed to residents to continue calling police with any information that might be helpful, noting that about 4,000 calls so far have led to 800 leads.

The death of a 26-year-old Washington resident whose body was found Saturday night didn’t match the pattern of the other killings, Howard County Police Officer Denise Walk said.

That man died from a gunshot, probably on Friday, Walk said. She declined to give further specifics.

Investigators hoped to learn more about the killer’s location from the geographic profile, Capt. Nancy Demme, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County police said.