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Deadly Shooting Alters Daily Rhythm In Quiet Alexandria Neighborhood

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Alexandria police released a sketch of the suspect in last week's shooting.

The manhunt continues as police search for the person who shot and killed a 59-year-old piano teacher in Alexandria. Authorities say it's too early to know whether the shooting is connected to several other unsolved murders in the area, but they're asking residents to be cautious.

On a quiet street in Alexandria, yellow police tape remains wrapped around the home of Ruthanne Lodatao. At the edge of property, there's a make-shift memorial of flowers and cards. A pair of sheriff's vehicles book-end the street.

Neighbor Andre Kelly sits outside his home, taking it all in. "This is one of the safest neighborhoods there is, but in my opinion, it's just mysterious," he says.

Police say that last Thursday, during the middle of the day, a man knocked on the door of Lodato's home on Ridge Road Drive. Lodato and a caretaker opened the door. The man fired a gun. Lodato was killed; the caretaker is recovering at the hospital.

Police have released a sketch of the shooter, described as an older, balding white man with a beard and tan jacket.

The shooting of Lodato, a beloved piano teacher, is similar to a pair of unsolved murders involving high-profile residents. Last November, transportation official Ron Kirby was killed in his home, less than a mile away from where Lodato lived. And a decade ago, a real-estate agent and the wife of a sheriff was also killed at her home nearby.

"We have currently have no evidence linking this to any other crimes, however, it would be remiss of us not to consider the possibility that it may be similarly to other crimes," says Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook.

The mayor of Alexandria, Bill Euille, says he understands why residents are on edge, given the striking similarities of the three shootings. "Because they happened in so close timing wise to each other and proximity, I think it behooves all of us no matter where you live in the city to be very cautious," he says.

And on Ridge Road Drive, neighbor Andre Kelly says that caution has already changed the neighborhood.

"My kids walk to school here around the corner. Usually a regular routine. The people that jog... there's one lady that usually walks around picking up papers. Everyday, she's been doing it for years. I haven't seen her around at all," he says.

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