ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Authorities in Alexandria are seeking the identity of the suspect who shot two women, killing well-known music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, 59, and injuring the other, inside a home in the 2400 block of Ridge Road on Thursday.
Police have released a composite sketch of the suspect, who is described as an older, balding white male with a full gray beard, and was last seen wearing a tan jacket.
If any of the features in the sketch remind you of someone, you’re asked to contact the police – at (703) 746 – 6864 — immediately. Bear in mind the suspect may have recently changed his appearance.
“Finding and arresting this subject is our top priority,” Cook said.
Police say they have no indication that the victims knew their attacker.
Cook said investigators have already spoken with the victim who is hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, and police will continue to interview her to obtain more information.
Detectives returned to the home Friday to investigate whether the shooting is connected to a similar incident last year.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Cook was asked about any similarities to the unsolved slaying of Ronald Kirby, 69, a well-known transportation planner with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, who was found shot to death in his home back in November. Kirby and Lodato’s homes are a little more than a mile apart.
Cook said that “obviously, that occurred to us” but cautioned that the investigation into Thursday’s shooting is just beginning and “we will have to look to see if we are dealing with a similar homicide.”
On Friday, Cook said they have no link between the two murders at this time, but will conduct ballistic tests to determine if the bullets used in Thursday’s shooting match any shells recovered from other crime scenes.
“We currently have no evidence linking this to any other crime, however, it would be remiss of us to not consider the possibility that it may be similar to other crimes,” Cook said Friday.
Longtime residents of the normally quiet neighborhood say they are stunned by the killing.
Friends and family of the victims began creating a small memorial outside the home Friday morning.
Six nearby schools — T.C. Williams High School, Charles Barrett Elementary School, Minnie Howard Campus, Matthew Maury Elementary School, George Mason Elementary School, and Douglas MacArthur Elementary School — were placed on a precautionary lockdown shortly after the shooting as authorities searched for the suspect.
(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)