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Investigators in northern Virginia are hunting for an assailant in a brutal double murder after a married couple was “viciously shot and killed up close at point-blank range” in their front yard on Wednesday morning.
Edward McDaniel Jr., 55, and Brenda McDaniel, 63, were found gunned down in their front yard in Springfield, Fairfax County police said. First responders who arrived after a 9:20 a.m. emergency call attempted to give first aid to the couple, but both were pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Two other people were found unharmed inside the home in the quiet suburb, authorities said.
“They did nothing wrong. They were gunned down. They were outside,” Maj. Ed O'Carroll, bureau chief of Major Crimes Cyber and Forensics for Fairfax County police, said at the press conference as he made a plea for community help in finding the gunman’s vehicle. A 2018 light-colored Nissan Altima with Maryland plates 1EF1479 was seen fleeing the scene, he told reporters.
On Monday, a robbery was reported at the McDaniel residence, and authorities have said that they believe there is a “direct correlation” between a dispute related to that incident and the homicides, though they told reporters that the investigation is ongoing and the motive is still unclear.
"The shooter or shooters, we strongly believe, are known to a relative of our two victims," Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said. "I can tell you this, this was not a random act of violence, not at all."
Edward McDaniel was a doctor at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, his mother told the Washington Post, and Brenda McDaniel was a retired military nurse. The couple has a 19-year-old son, who was home at the time of the shootings, and Brenda has an older son from a previous relationship.
"He was one of the kindest and most generous human beings alive,” Felice McDaniel said of her son, Edward.
Police have asked that anyone with information come forward to authorities. The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $10,000 reward for the apprehension of the suspect in the killings.
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