A fatal shooting at the Home Depot in Seven Corners on Monday, Oct. 14 and an earlier shooting in Fredericksburg on Friday, Oct. 11, spurred a region-wide emergency, and various reactions on a local scale.
Joan Maguire, a Falls Church resident, works at Joanne's Fabrics in the shopping center where the shooting occurred on Monday night.
"I was very surprised. All the way to work I've been looking for vans, I saw three on the way," she said, looking at the access to the shopping center.
"It isn't too hard to get out of this place," she said.
Jim Clouse, truck driver from Hagerstown, was in Manassas and Newington on Friday morning. Before lunch time, he was in the parking lot by Borders books in Springfield.
“They had the HOV blocked off. I came up the side road, I plan on jumping on the parkway to get to 66. This is my last stop here in Springfield,” he said.
Although he was driving a white truck, it was a tractor trailer and not a panel truck or van like the one described by witnesses at several of the crime scenes.
Others stayed around their neighborhoods. Heather Trammell lives in Kingstowne and only ventured as far as the Springfield Mall that morning.
“I’d want to cooperate,” she said.
An Alexandria mother who only gave her first name, Cecilia, was not going to let the incident affect her daily routine.
“I’m not going to stay home because of it, I know people who are staying home, I’m not doing that,” she said.
Burke resident Judy Dioquino looked at the gas gauge on her car. She knew some of the shootings were at gas stations.
“I’m not going to the gas station. I took a different car today because the other one needed gas,” she said.
Didi Marco, of Burke, was glad the schools canceled afternoon outdoor activities.
“I would not want to be the principal to make a decision when that’s the one time it turns out to be wrong,” she said.
Marco also kept her eye out for white vans.
“Absolutely, you have to,” she said.
AREA SUPERVISORS are keeping abreast of the situation as well. In Springfield, Elaine McConnell (R) is staying in touch with her constituents.
"Everyone is frightened, they're afraid to pump gas," she said.
Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) hears people on the street express concerns when she's out in the neighborhoods.
"There's a great deal of concern. I've spoken to folks who are hesitant to get gas. People are taking whatever measures they feel that makes them less of a target," she said.
Bulova's heard of people bobbing and weaving at the pumps and she's put a zig-zag into her own jogging routine.
Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) sees people looking inward on a personal level. He hasn't had any calls though.
"I saw less people everywhere I went except church, there were more people at church," he said.
The two latest shootings fit the description of the other shootings in Montgomery County, Md., where a white van was spotted leaving the scene. More details emerged from the Monday incident about the van as a white Chevrolet Astro van with a silver ladder rack and a left tail light out, according to Fairfax County Police information officer John Carney.
"We have a really good physical description of it," he said.
Carney realized some van owners will get pulled over unnecessarily.
"We are asking for everybody's patience and understanding," he said.
AT A MOBIL gas station, right off the Beltway on Braddock Road, Yassir Alomari said people are ducking and moving as they pump gas. He ducked and shuffled like a boxer, imitating some customers. Others are just opting to stay out of harms way.
"A lot turn the pump on and come inside, especially this week," he said.
Business is down about 40 percent, he said, but he's talked to other station owners who said it's the same at their place as well.
"It's slow," he said.
Alomari saw one police officer checking out the pumps over the weekend.
At a retail store in Springfield, Chris Hotnisky has noticed people come in and know what they want.
"No one's browsing," he said, but chose not to name his store because of company policy.
Things aren't much different in the restaurant world, according to Lawrence Chu, manager of Canton Cafe in Springfield Plaza.
"It dropped like 20 percent on Friday, it dropped a lot and picked up a little on Saturday. Weekdays [are] totally bad, a lot of carry out. We're right by the highway, that's another reason," he said.