LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The FBI is now helping Alexandria police with their investigation into the death of 59-year-old music teacher Ruthanne Lodato.
Authorities are seeking the identity of a suspect who shot and killed Lodato and injured a second woman inside a home in the 2400 block of Ridge Road on Thursday. The initial investigation indicates the suspect knocked on the door and shot the women when they answered it.
The release of a suspect composite drawing on Friday generated a lot of incoming tips, authorities say, so the FBI is assisting the department to help vet each one.
The suspect is described as an older, balding white male with a full gray beard, and was last seen wearing a tan jacket.
“Finding and arresting this subject is our top priority,” Alexandria Chief of Police Earl Cook said last week.
Police say they have no indication that the victims knew their attacker. They are warning residents to lock their doors and windows at all times, to be sure of who is at the door before answering it and to not open the door for strangers.
Beginning today, detectives and officers will be out in the community surrounding Ridge Road Drive speaking with residents and handing out flyers.
“Any law enforcement officer you encounter will identify themselves and have credentials,” the department says on its website.
Cook said investigators have spoken with the surviving victim and will continue to interview her to obtain more information.
Detectives are also investigating the possibility that 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 the similarity of the cases has occurred to officers, but also cautioned that the investigation into Thursday’s shooting is just beginning.
On Friday, Cook said there is no definite link between the murders, but noted that ballistic tests will be conducted 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,” he said.
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.
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