New Evidence in Sniper Probe

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A handgun overlooked during an initial search has been found near the scene of a fatal shooting Sept. 21 outside a Montgomery liquor store. Police say the finding of the handgun adds more unanswered questioned to a case that Montgomery Police Chief John Wilson called an "unfolding nightmare.''

Washington-area sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo have been charged with the Montgomery shootings. Chief Wilson said the handgun was stolen at a gun show in El Paso, Texas, and fits the make and model of a handgun believed used in the shooting outside a Montgomery liquor store.

"What has to fit into the equation are the statements of the witnesses that's very important," said Wilson at a news conference Friday. "Nobody has now, nor did anybody then indicate that they saw a long gun. We have two officers that clearly indicate in separately taken independent statements taken that night that they observed the flash of a handgun. So we are still convinced then, and we are convinced now that a handgun plays a role in some way."

Police previously said ballistics tests showed a rifle used in the sniper attacks was also used in the Montgomery shooting. Wilson said witnesses told detectives they saw “the flash of a handgun'' during the shooting that killed store employee Claudine Parker and wounded co-worker Kellie Adams.

Wilson said the handgun was found Wednesday by a citizen along the route where a police officer said he chased Muhammad after the shooting. Wilson said it was found underneath leaves in an area of abandoned apartments.