Scant details released about Alexandria manhunt

A news conference about a deadly Alexandria shooting for which the suspect remains at large offered little new information Friday afternoon. But both the police chief and mayor reiterated safety and pleas for tips from the community.

WASHINGTON – One day after an Alexandria woman was shot and killed by a man who knocked on her door, the suspect remains at large and officials have little additional information about what happened.

But, around 8:30 p.m. Friday, Alexandria Police released a composite sketch of the suspect. Police cautioned the man may have changed his appearance.

At an earlier news conference Friday, Mayor William Euille said, “I think it behooves all of us to, no matter where you live in the city, to be very cautious and take extra steps to be safe.”

“First and foremost, we want folks to know that these types of incidents are not common here in the City of Alexandria.”

The mayor and Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook spoke at the 1:30 p.m. conference on Friday, answering questions about whether the crime may have been linked to other Alexandria crimes and addressing where the investigation stands.

Ruthanne Lodato, 59, and a caregiver working at the home were both shot shortly before noon on Thursday when they answered a knock at their door. Lodato died later at a hospital. The caregiver, whose name hasn’t been released, remains hospitalized but her injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Investigators are looking for the suspect they describe as an older, white, balding man with a gray beard. On Friday, Cook added the man wore a tan jacket.

Addressing a reporter’s question about whether the suspect’s appearance is unusual, Cook said, “You don’t ever want to stereotype what a killer looks like or who it could be, because too often it will make you wrong.”

“We 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 similar to other crimes,” said Cook.

“We need to have a broad focus in the beginning to avoid risking missing something important.”

Investigators don’t know if the suspect knew the women.

Several schools in the area were on lockdown as a precaution, but later reopened.

Anyone with information is asked to call 703-746-6864. Callers can remain anonymous.

Lodato was a longtime parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church


WTOP’s Kathy Stewart reports

Lodato family friend John Kelly read a family statement after the conference. In part it said:

“She was our family rock. We won’t be the same without her. Ruthanne enjoyed giving her beautiful gift of music to countless children over the last 40 years and teaching brought her great joy. The effect on her students and others in the community is reflected in the tremendous outpouring of love and support for our family. We are heartbroken. And we hope you will respect our privacy as we grieve this tragic loss.

More info: Woman shot in Alexandria home dies

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty and Kathy Stewart contributed to this report.

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