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Shots fired again at military building in Va. area

A gunman who fired shots at a Washington-area Marine Corps museum and may have been responsible for three similar incidents may have a grievance against the U.S. Marine Corps, authorities said Friday.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

A gunman who fired shots at a Washington-area Marine Corps museum and may have been responsible for three similar incidents may have a grievance against the U.S. Marine Corps, authorities said Friday.

FBI Washington special agent John Perrin said investigators believe the person takes issue with the institution of the Marines, but not those serving in uniform. Perrin said the person has gone to lengths to make sure no one has been hurt.

"We'd like to know what this grievance is and what we can do to try to help solve it," Perren said.

Someone fired shots at the museum in Triangle, Va., between 9 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday. It is the second time in less than two weeks someone has shot at the museum. Someone also recently shot at the Pentagon and a military recruiting center.

Th e FBI has said the first three shootings are connected, and investigators say they assume the fourth is connected as well.

FBI spokeswoman Katherine Schweit said the bureau believes the unknown shooter does not want to hurt anyone.

"This guy hasn't hurt anybody. We don't think he wants to. We're hoping that he'll turn himself in."

The FBI is urging a gunman to surrender to authorities.

Prince William County Police spokeswoman First Sgt. Kim Chinn said multiple shots were fired sometime after the museum closed.

The incident was just hours after the FBI linked Tuesday night's shooting at a Marine recruiting center in Chantilly, Va., with two similar cases in the state — including an earlier incident at the museum and at the Pentagon.

The conclusion was based on testing of evidence at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va., the FBI said in a statement.

Meantime, the Pentagon said it was tightening security for this weekend's Marine Corps marathon in the wake of the shootings. More than 30,000 marathon runners will be speeding right by the Defense Department headquarters on Sunday.

"The Pentagon force protection agency will probably have a larger presence than normally for these activities this weekend," Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.

The Pentagon was one of the targets of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and in March a gunman shot and wounded two security officers near a Pentagon entrance.

Previous shootingsBullet holes were first discovered Oct. 17 in windows of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., 30 miles south of the Pentagon, but none of the museum's artifacts was injured.

Two days later, shots were fired into two windows at the sprawling Defense Department across the Potomac River in suburban Virginia. Just before 5 a.m. on Oct. 19, officers at the Pentagon reported hearing shots in the area of the south parking lot. Fragments of two bullets were found embedded in windows on the third and fourth floors. They shattered but didn't penetrate the reinforced-glass windows, which were part of unoccupied offices. Four other bullets struck the Pentagon's façade.

A third military office — a Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Va., outside Washington — was shot at late Monday night or early Tuesday. Property damage at the Marine recruiting office at 13881 Metro Tech Drive was reported at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when an employee discovered two bullet holes in a window.