Fatal shooting of man in Howard not linked to six other deaths

October 07, 2002|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Authorities identified yesterday a man found fatally shot near the Patuxent River on Saturday night and said his death is not linked to the fatal sniper attacks in Washington or Montgomery County.

Leon Antwan Swain, 26, of the 2600 block of Rhode Island Ave. in Northeast Washington was discovered in a secluded, residential part of southwestern Howard County about 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Howard and Montgomery County police departments, as well as agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, investigated the killing and said it does not fit the pattern of six slayings in Montgomery County and Washington, which occurred in public places Wednesday and Thursday, authorities said. The shooting of a woman in Fredericksburg, Va., on Friday has been linked to the slayings.

"This is something we are confident is not related to Montgomery County. ... It was an absolutely targeted homicide, not something random," said Pfc. Denise Walk, a Howard Police Department spokeswoman.

Swain, Howard County's sixth homicide this year, was found by a fisherman who was walking near the heavily wooded banks of the Patuxent River near Browns Bridge, close to the Montgomery County border, authorities said.

Authorities would not say how many times Swain had been shot, how long he had been dead or if he had been dumped at the location.

The news of another killing rattled frayed nerves in Howard County, where residents have been on the lookout for suspicious activity and for a white truck with a bent rear bumper that the Montgomery County shooter may have been using.

"It brings home the fact that the [other killings] were so close to home," said Paul Kim, a North Laurel resident who was shopping yesterday at the Food Lion on Ice Crystal Drive in Scaggsville, close to the Montgomery County border.

Anyone with information regarding the fatal shooting in Howard County is asked to call the department's tip line at 410-313-2283. Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of anyone involved in the slaying.

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