Va. Police hunt for killer in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- A bizarre and deadly shooting that killed a 59-year-old woman Thursday morning has rattled the city of Alexandria.

The whole town is upset about the shooting that happened on Ridge Road Drive and killed Ruthanne Lodato.

Police have released a composite sketch of the suspect. He was last seen wearing tan outerwear, possibly a jacket or work coat. He is described as an older white man who is balding and has a full grey beard, police said.

Lodato was a lifelong and beloved resident of Alexandria. Her neighbor John Kelly knew Lodato well. His children took piano lessons from her.

"She will be missed every day in many ways by many people," Kelly said.

While friends and family focus on the loss, police said they do not know yet if the crime was random or targeted.

"Unfortunately, we haven't determined a motive yet. And the motive is not apparent yet," Police Chief Earl Cook said. Chief Cook said they do not think Lodato knew her attacker.

Police were able to briefly interview the caretaker of Lodato's elderly mother who was also shot. Lodato's mother may be the only person who saw the shooter, police said.

"We have a victim who survived," Cook said. He emphasized that they needed to ensure Lodato's mother's health was stable before they could interview her again.

Police are looking at the possibility of a connection with the murder of the transportation official Ron Kirby. Kirby was also mysteriously shot and killed inside his home in November. He lived about a mile away from the Lodatos', police said.

"Certainly, people should be concerned, but I don't want to characterize this as a serial killer floating around the city," Mayor Bill Euille said.

Anyone recognizing the person depicted in the sketch or anyone with additional information about this case is asked to call Sgt. Michael Kochis at 703.746.6864 or email him at Detectives would like to remind witnesses that they can remain anonymous.


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