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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Police confirm eighth sniper killing
Police and FBI agents search scene of shooting
A massive investigation has been launched
Police in the United States have said that a man shot in the Washington area on Friday was the eighth person to die at the hands of a serial sniper.


We all in the community obviously feel concerned, and feel stressed

Mark Warner
Virginia governor

Kenneth Bridges was killed by a single bullet as he was filling his car at a petrol station near Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 40 miles (60 kilometres) south of Washington.

Major Howard Smith of the Spotsylvania County police said: "Ballistics evidence has conclusively linked the shooting to the other shootings in (Washington) DC and Montgomery County."

The BBC's Nick Childs in Washington says this was the fourth shooting at a petrol station and the fourth close to a highway interchange, but the authorities are revealing little more in terms of clues that they might have at the moment.

Police road block
Police are searching for a man or men in a white van

The reward fund for information on the killer now stands at $500,000.

Virginia Governor Mark Warner appealed for information from the public.

"The eyes and ears of the public are some of our best assets right now," he said.

"We all in the community obviously feel concerned, and feel stressed," the governor added, before going on to say that people should get on with their lives as best they could.

Schools and local organisations in areas around Washington have cancelled many sporting activities and outdoor events because of the attacks.

Click here to see the sniper's trail

Shops and restaurants have reported slower business, as residents limit the amount of time they spend outdoors.

'Someone who doesn't care'

Witnesses to the latest shooting said they saw a suspicious white van nearby and a huge manhunt is now under way.

Sniper attacks
2-3 Oct - Five people killed in Montgomery County, Maryland
3 Oct - Man killed in Washington DC
4 Oct - Woman injured in Fredericksburg, Virginia
7 Oct - Boy injured in Prince George's County, Maryland
9 Oct - Man killed in Manassas, Virginia
11 Oct - Man killed in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Police closed all local exits from the main highway which runs down the East Coast, causing long traffic jams as officers stopped and searched vehicles.

A police officer was nearby when the shot was fired.

The uniformed policeman had been dealing with an accident across the road and would have been clearly visible to the sniper as he used just a single bullet to kill his 53-year-old victim.

"With a uniformed officer across the street, we are obviously dealing with someone who is very violent, and doesn't care," said Howard Smith, of the Spotsylvania County police.

The White House says President George W Bush is being updated every day on the investigations.

And the effects are now being felt abroad. Canada's main motoring organisation has now advised its members to steer clear of the Washington area.


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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emma Simpson
"Ten shootings in ten days have spread fear across the Washington suburbs"
Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia
"It's important that we do all we can to reassure our children"
Dr Raj Persaud, consultant psychiatrist
"America has a real problem with serial killers"

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