Thursday, December 18, 2003

I-270 shooter's latest target is house

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A bullet found in a bathtub was linked Wednesday to a series of 15 shootings that began in May around the highway encircling the city.

The shot fired at a house Monday was the third to occur after the death of a passenger Nov. 25 on Interstate 270 south of the city. No one was injured.

The bullet was the seventh to be linked to the shootings through ballistics tests, Franklin County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. However, investigators believes all 16 shootings are connected.

Martin said a man living in the house heard three shots about 12:30 a.m. Two bullet holes were found in the front of the house.

The two-story house sits across from a cemetery about two miles north of the outerbelt and becomes the northernmost site connected to the case.

"Many have speculated as to why the shooter or shooters may have selected the location where the latest incident took place," Martin said.

"For now that remains unclear."

He said he had no reason to believe the occupants were specifically targeted.

A task force began investigating the shootings after the death of Gail Knisley, 62, of Washington Court House, who was being driven by a friend to a doctor's appointment.

The string of shootings began in May, but most occurred within the past two months.

A school, cars, trucks and vans have been hit at varying times of the day and night.

Shots also were fired at a car on the highway and at another house after the death of Knisley, the only person struck in the shootings.

Asked whether the latest shooting broadened the targeted area, Martin said, "We continue to believe the person or persons are familiar with their surroundings."

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