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Becoming a sniper victim: 'It could have been anybody'

Tuesday - 10/2/2012, 2:54pm  ET

sniper victims (AP)

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Some people don't want to talk about it. Ask what it was like for them during three weeks of sniper shootings and brows furrow, jaws set. They might shake their heads and walk away, or say simply: "No."

Some others though get contemplative, struggling to find just the right words as they descend into that place they might stammer and pause frequently. The magnitude of the experience for them too encompassing to express their thoughts without care.

"I do remember it. It's a part of my life right now. When events like that happen, my life is forever changed and it becomes part of who I am," says Bonita Condon as she topped off her tank at the gas pump closest to the vacuum cleaner where 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was murdered.

Another Kensington resident at that Shell gas station at Connecticut and Knowles avenues notes that trying to avoid being a sniper target was like trying to avoid a lightning strike. You never knew where you were safe.

When the snipers' focus fell on the Home Depot parking lot in Seven Corners outside Falls Church, Va., Fernando Arosemena of Falls Church believes that ghoulish lottery-like randomness allowed him to escape with his life -- or at least gives him greater appreciation for it.

"That poor woman and her family," he says of 47-year-old FBI Intelligence Analyst Linda Franklin who was murdered outside Home Depot after shopping with her husband.

A general contractor, Arosemena says he's in that parking lot sometimes multiple times a day.

"It could have been anybody, any one of us," he says referring to tradesmen shopping for work supplies.

But Franklin was a homeowner just doing average, everyday shopping.

"The woman who end up (sic) losing her life here - it was just like a lottery," says Arosemena. He says he thinks of Franklin frequently, even now 10 years later.

"Thank God it wasn't our family who is now with a loss."

WTOP's Kristi King closely covered the sniper shootings as they unfolded 10 years ago. Follow Kristi and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)