MILLERSVILLE, Md. — A man accused of firing at five public places in Maryland, including a building at the headquarters of the National Security Agency, chose his targets at random, police said Wednesday.
Anne Arundel County Chief Timothy Altomare said the shootings over the past week evoked memories for officers of two snipers who killed 10 people in 2002 in the Washington area. Despite the fear created by the latest shootings, Altomare said everyone is "alive and well."
"I'm struck by the fact most of us here probably in some way, shape or form, are aware of the events 15 years ago with the D.C. sniper case," Altomare said at a news conference while flanked by officers from the FBI and Howard and Prince George's counties. "As soon as we started to hear about the possibility of this stuff being linked, we kicked every effort we had into overdrive."
The multi-jurisdiction manhunt resulted in the charging of Hong Young, 35, of Beltsville, with attempted murder and assault in the first shooting Feb. 24 near Arundel Mills mall. Police linked the other shootings by ballistic evidence or surveillance video.
Anne Arundel police spokesman T.J. Smith said Young was being monitored at a local hospital and was under police guard. Authorities didn't know if he had an attorney.
Two Anne Arundel officers took him into custody Tuesday night after spotting a 1999 Lincoln Town Car near the site of the first shooting. One person was hurt by broken glass from a vehicle window in that case. Another person was similarly injured Tuesday in a shooting along a busy highway in Prince George's.
No one was hurt Tuesday in the NSA shooting or at Monday shootings outside at Walmart in Laurel and a movie theater in Columbia. The sites are within a 12-mile radius in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer said Young was a prison guard from January 2012 to May 2014.
"There was nothing significant about his employment," Moyer said. "He was assigned to one of the medium (security) facilities in Jessup. He resigned. There was nothing remarkable about his file."
Smith said investigators were working to determine a motive, but did not believe the shootings were terrorism-related.
"We have not gotten into the mind of the suspect," Smith said. "We're fortunate we're not talking about death. Buildings were fired upon. That takes you into a little peek inside the mind of this individual."