Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Federal authorities Thursday reportedly linked the .223 caliber Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle used in 13 shootings, including 10 murders in the national capitol region, to two additional shootings in Baton Rouge, La.
One victim was wounded and another was killed in two separate shootings in that city the last week in September, one week prior to the start of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area shootings.
Ballistic evidence recovered from the two Louisiana victims has reportedly been compared to the rifle recovered during the arrest of 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old John Lee Malvo, and police "believe there is a match," according to law enforcement sources.
Louisiana investigators became interested in the pair after it was learned that they were in the city visiting Muhammad's relatives twice over the summer, once during the time frame in which the two shootings took place.
Captain Adam White with the Louisiana State Police told local reporters Saturday that Muhammad, "always carried this knapsack or this bag in which he was believed to carry the weapon. The speculation is the weapon was the same one that was used in Maryland. We don't know."
White specified that authorities currently have no evidence that would make Muhammad or Malvo suspects in any crimes committed in Louisiana.
But Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Mary Ann Godawa confirmed Tuesday that prosecutors there had contacted Maryland authorities to obtain DNA samples from the sniper suspects.
"It's going to be a long process," she said, but was unable to say exactly how long police would have to wait for the results.
The possibility of a match is "more than likely not, but we can't say for sure until we get the comparison done," Godawa explained. "It's something that we just have to look into."
Investigators have used DNA evidence to link the murders of Gina Wilson Green, Charlotte Murray Pace and Pam Kinamore to the same attacker, but no suspect has been identified. Baton Rouge has been terrorized by a serial killer for more than a year.
Baton Rouge Police have scheduled a press conference Thursday evening to discuss their findings.
E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.
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