WASHINGTON – After a fourth shooting Thursday night involving military buildings in Northern Virginia, the FBI appealed to the public for help locating a possibly disgruntled Marine before something “disastrous” happens.
Authorities announced on Friday that they believe the shooter who fired on the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., Thursday night may also be responsible for three other recent shootings targeting government buildings.
John Perren, acting assistant director of the FBI Washington field office, said investigators believe the shooter may be a current or former Marine with a grievance against the Corps. During a news conference outside FBI offices in downtown Washington, Perren urged the shooter to contact authorities.
Perren said he believes the shooter intentionally has avoided casualties by shooting at night.
“We do not believe there is an intention to harm innocent citizens or Marines,” Perren said. “Acting out in this way, however, can eventually lead to disastrous and tragic consequences that we all wish to avoid.
“It may be that he feels he has been wronged by the Corps in his professional and/or personal life,” Perren said.
“The subject of his grievance does appear to be the institution of the Marine Corps and not the individual men and women Marines for whom he may feel a great deal of respect, admiration and even loyalty.”
This is the second time the museum has been targeted this month. Assistant Chief Mike Crosbie of the Prince William County Police said the bullets were fired from Interstate 95 sometime between 9 p.m. Thursday night and 6 a.m. Friday morning.
The latest incident comes one day after FBI ballistic tests confirmed that the same weapon was used to shoot at the museum on Oct. 17, the Pentagon on Oct. 19 and an empty Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Va., earlier this week. The FBI has not said what type of weapon was used.
The shootings raised concern about the 35th Marine Corps Marathon, scheduled for Sunday morning. Nearly 30,000 runners will take off from Arlington, Va., weave their way through Washington, D.C., and pass the Pentagon on their way back to Virginia.
Marine 2nd Lt. Agustin Solivan, spokesman for the marathon, said he did not expect any problems because the shootings have been at night. Solivan said the Marine Corps was coordinating its security measures with local police departments.