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Police: 'Olney Murders May Be Connected'

5:03 PM, Mar 22, 2011   |    comments
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OLNEY, Md. (WUSA) -- Montgomery County Police are investigating two homicides that could be the work of the same person. Both victims were shot to death in Olney less than a week. The first victim was an 81-year-old man who was found shot in a home last Friday. The second happened Monday afternoon on North High Street.

If the murders are linked, it's not an obvious connection, except that both men died of gunshot wounds. Lab tests are underway to see if the ballistics match, but there are no results yet.

The man who was shot on N. High Street was a recent immigrant from Sri Lanka, whose family says he was a quiet person with no problems or enemies.

Cyril Rajapakse says he was working in his garden when he heard the gunshots that killed his nephew, 41-year-old Punyasara Gedara.

"I ran over and I just recognized that it's him because I know his jacket," said Rajapakse. "He was alive at that moment. He was."

But Gedara later died at a local hospital. Now the hunt is on for his killer, and neither police nor his uncle have a motive.

"He doesn't have any enemies," said Rajapakse. "I can't believe it because he doesn't go anywhere without us. Only to work."

Gedara started working at a Subway in Olney last week. In fact, he was walking home from work Monday afternoon when he was shot.

"It's really hard at this time. Everybody's shocked. We're shocked," said Rajapakse.

Six months ago, Gedara's family was shocked for an entirely different reason. Gedara had won the green card lottery and was moving to the United States from Sri Lanka.

"He just came to start a new life," said Rajapakse. "He's a very nice guy. He never drank, no smoking, nothing. He's really calm. He's not going to argue with anybody."

Police say they do not have a description of the suspect, but they do have a description of the getaway car. It is described as an older-model beige Toyota Camry. It was last seen on North High Street traveling toward Georgia Avenue.

"If anybody knows anything about this situation, please let us know," pleads Rajapakse. "He's gone but we have to find what happened to him."

Tuesday police announced they will look into the possibility that this murder is linked to the death of an 81-year-old Olney man in his home. Gedara's family says they know of no links between the two victims.

If you have any information about either homicide, please call Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

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