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Va. music teacher killed answering door; suspect sought

LANHAM, Md. – Authorities are seeking a man believed to be responsible for the killing of a 59-year-old music teacher in Alexandria, Va., reports CBS DC.

Police say a man fatally shot Ruthanne Lodato and injured a second woman inside an Alexandria home on Feb. 6. The initial investigation reportedly indicates the suspect knocked on the door and shot the women when they answered it.

The suspect is described as an older, balding white male with a full gray beard and police say he was last seen wearing a tan jacket. A composite sketch of the suspect was released Friday and reportedly generated a lot of tips.


Ruthanne Lodato CBS affiliate WUSA
 “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, according to the station. They are warning residents to lock their doors and windows at all times and to be sure of who is at the door before answering it.

Cook said investigators have spoken with the surviving victim and will continue to interview her to obtain more information, reports the station.

Detectives are also reportedly 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 lived 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 Lodato’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, reports the station.

“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.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

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