23 Aug 2014
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What Ties Lodato Homicide to Other Victims in Alexandria?

What Ties Lodato Homicide to Other Victims in Alexandria? What Ties Lodato Homicide to Other Victims in Alexandria? What Ties Lodato Homicide to Other Victims in Alexandria?
In his news conference on Thursday on the Ruthanne Lodato homicide investigation, Alexandria Police Chief Earl L. Cook said that similarities with two other unsolved fatal shootings has prompted the department to look at the three homicides as a series.

A former FBI profiler who was interviewed by NBC-4's Pat Collins said one of the keys to finding a suspect in the shootings of Ruthanne Lodato, Ron Kirby and Nancy Dunning — if they were all shot by the same person or persons — is to find something that links the three. Police are investigating all three and combing through hundreds of tips.

The similarities in the homicides, according to police, are:

When: All were shot on weekdays, close to 11:30 a.m., in the colder months. Dunning was shot on Friday, Dec. 5, 2003, between 10:50-11:30 a.m.; Kirby was shot Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, between 11:30 a.m. and 12 noon. Lodato was shot Thursday, Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m.

Where: All were shot within a two-mile radius of each other. Kirby lived in the 200 block of Elm Street, off of Braddock Road in Rosemont; Lodato lived just up the hill from there, off of Braddock Road, in the 2400 block of Ridge Road Drive, in North Ridge. Dunning lived in the 200 block of W. Mt. Ida in nearby Del Ray.

Similarities in crime scenes: All victims were found inside their homes. All were shot to death. (In the Dunning and Kirby cases, both were shot several times; Chief Cook declined Thursday when asked at the news conference to discuss the particulars of Lodato's shooting). In each case, the police chief said, it appeared that someone had "presented" himself at the door of the home.

Forensics: The bullet fragments in each of the three homicides share characteristics, Chief Cook said Thursday. Generally speaking investigators, when they're examining ballistics evidence, will "see lands and grooves embedded in the bullets that give them, and guns, specific characteristics," said William Whildin, director of and professor in the Forensic Science Program at Virginia’s George Mason University.

"Their analysis shows that the bullets recovered from the Lodato case exhibit the same general rifling class and characteristics and are similar in design to bullets submitted in both the Ron Kirby and Nancy Dunning cases," a news release from the Alexandria Police Department states. "However, the results of the microscopic comparisons were inconclusive. It was not possible to identify or eliminate these bullets as having been fired from the same firearm."

"The similarities and unusual nature of all three shootings occurring in Alexandria require the Police Department to consider the possibility that all cases are linked together," the news release states. "Detectives are receiving assistance from state and federal agencies to pursue the cases as a series, yet at the same time keep all options open."

The suspect in the Lodato case is described as an older white male, with gray hair and a full beard. He was last seen wearing tan outerwear. Please take the time to review the information and consider whether you know someone who generally fits the suspect description, who lived or had ties to the area around the times of the homicides, or who may have spent considerable amounts of time in these areas.

The Alexandria Police Department asks that anyone with information about a person with ties to any of these crimes or who may resemble the composite is asked to contact the Alexandria Police Department at (703) 746-6864 or email crimetips@alexandriva.gov. 

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