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Woman shot in Alexandria home dies, manhunt continues

Friday - 2/7/2014, 11:27am  ET

alexandria_shooting_mcl.jpg
Alexandria police cordon off a neighborhood after a shooting in the 2400 block of Ridge Road Drive Thursday morning. The shooting and the search for the shooter forced several schools in the area to lock down. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
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"It could have been anybody."

WTOP's Nick Iannelli reports.

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Megan Cloherty and Amanda Iacone, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An Alexandria woman shot at the front door of her home Thursday morning has died. Investigators are still looking for her killer who also shot a caregiver in her home.

Ruthanne Lodato, 59, was a former music teacher in Alexandria, police say.

Investigators are looking for the suspect who they describe as an older, white, balding man with a gray beard.

The man knocked on Lodato's door in the 2400 block of Ridge Road Drive around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, police say. When she and a caregiver working at the home answered, he shot Lodato and the caregiver, Police Chief Earl Cook says.

"It's still too early in this investigation to speculate on a motive at this time," Cook says.

Investigators don't know whether the shooter knew either woman or the other person who lives at the home.

The caregiver, whose name police have not released, is expected to survive.

Police Friday continued to search for the shooter in the neighborhood, bordered by West Braddock Road.

On Thursday, police cordoned off the neighborhood and set up a mobile command post. Throughout the day on Thursday, investigators used police dogs to look for clues and employed the use of the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter.

Neighbors, who say an elderly woman also lives in the home, could not be more surprised at word of what happened.

"This has always been the most genteel, beautiful neighborhood around. I mean, it's shocking," says Jan Lovich, who lives four doors down from Lodato.

Shortly after the Thursday shooting, several schools in the area were locked down.

A spokesperson with Alexandria City Public Schools said six of its schools were locked down as a precaution, which is standard procedure when there's a shooting in the vicinity of any school.

The six schools that were locked down were:

  • TC Williams HS
  • Minnie Howard Campus
  • Charles Barrett ES
  • Matthew Maury ES
  • George Mason ES
  • Douglas MacArthur ES

In a statement Thursday, Mayor William D. Euille called it "a sad day in the City of Alexandria." He sent condolences to Lodato's family and added, "I am confident that the Alexandria Police Department will work swiftly to apprehend the person who committed this horrible crime."

Anyone who has information about the shooting or has seen the shooter is asked to call police at 703-746-6864.

Megan Cloherty reported from Alexandria, Va. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and Facebook.

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