ANNAPOLIS – Police have yet to discuss a possible connection between the shootings attributed to the area’s sniper and the killer’s seeming fondness for Michaels craft stores.
The first of the sniper’s shootings pierced a Michaels window, narrowly missing an employee. Two days and six victims later, a Northern Virginia woman was wounded by the gunman in a Michaels parking lot. And the latest victim, shot Wednesday night, was killed just a half-mile from a store.
Reporters have made the connection, asking Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose about Michaels. He declined to comment.
The chain’s spokesman, Tom Clary would give no official comment or statement on the possible connection because police told the chain that any comment might impede the investigation.
Clary, at the Michaels headquarters in Texas, would only say that some area stores have removed sidewalk displays as a precaution along with other area businesses.
Refusing to comment, the assistant manager of a Michaels store in Annapolis seemed to pick up the nervous vibes of her customers Thursday, several of whom refused to discuss the possible connection between the sniper and the craft stores.
Prince William County police also will not talk about the possible Connection, saying only that they “are investigating all leads,” according to Sgt. Kim Chinn. Police would not say whether drivers of Michaels delivery trucks were under investigation.
The first shot of the mystery sniper’s shooting spree is the killer’s only known miss to date. The Oct. 2 shot went through a Michaels window in Aspen Hill in Montgomery County.
The store did comment after the shooting saying at the time that it appeared to be random. “Our first concern is for our associates and customers that are affected by this,” said Clary after that incident. “We are shaken a little bit and we have some concern. We are doing everything we can.”
Within just a few miles of that Michaels, came five more shootings in two days that took the lives of James D. Martin, 55; James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, 39; Prem Kumar Walekar, 54; Sarah Ramos, 34, and Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25.
Another man was killed in Washington during that spree.
The next time the sniper hit at a Michaels was Oct. 4 in Fredericksburg, Va. A 43-year-old woman was shot while loading packages into her car in the parking lot of the store. She survived the attack and was released from the hospital Tuesday.
A 13-year-old boy also survived an attack Oct. 7, after he was shot entering his Prince George’s middle school.
The latest shooting Wednesday killed Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a Sunoco gas station in Manassas, Va., just half a mile from a Michaels.
Michaels The Arts and Crafts Store has about 600 stories in 48 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.