Inside The Sniper Manhunt

How a killer's diabolical methods and terrifying effect have launched an investigation like no other, with new methods and armies of cops on the case. A look behind the police-tape lines

Pay attention, profilers have long warned, to a serial killer's first strike. The first of the bullets that strafed the suburbs of Washington last week sliced through the air over a drab strip-mall parking lot in Aspen Hill, Md., and cracked a nickel-size hole in the front window of a Michaels craft store. It then arced through a leafy display of silk autumnal bouquets, zipped behind the head of a female cashier and pierced a hole through thelamp over the register of lane No. 5. Emerging on the other side, it whizzed over a Christmas-ornament display and finally ricocheted off a...

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