Police hunt for killer who gunned down popular Virginia teacher - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police hunt for killer who gunned down popular Virginia teacher

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Ruthanne Lodato Ruthanne Lodato
Police continue to search for the suspect, who is described as an older white male, balding with gray hair and a full beard, wearing a tan jacket. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call detectives at 703.746.6864. Police continue to search for the suspect, who is described as an older white male, balding with gray hair and a full beard, wearing a tan jacket. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call detectives at 703.746.6864.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Alexandria Police say they are working around the clock investigating the murder of Alexandria piano teacher Ruthanne Lodato, who was shot and killed Thursday by an unknown assailant when she answered a knock at her door. And FBI agents and analysts are now assisting local investigators because so many tips have come in since the suspect's composite was released.

As the investigation continues, people who knew Lodato are still trying to come to terms with her death, especially may of the young students she impacted so greatly.

Nine year old Gillian Krupicka and her 11 year old sister Janella took music classes from Lodato as babies and piano lessons from her since the first grade and the young girls say they want to honor their teacher by making sure everyone knows she will live on through the music she taught so many to play.

"If she knew we were doing this I think she would be glad and happy about it so I just wanted everyone to know that she is still with us," Gillian Krupicka explaind.

The sisters knew Lodato's home on Ridge Road not as a crime scene, but as the place they went every Monday afternoon for lessons. And this Monday Gillian says she will try to maintain a similar routine.

"At 3:15 I would start walking around the house for fifteen minutes as if I was in the car driving to her house and then I would come sit down and play the piano," the girl explained.

Lori Dicesare's daughter Gabrielle took piano lessons from Lodato for ten years. "Her legacy would be love for music, respect and a wonderful mentor," Dicesare says.

And Harrison Sniady, who is now in college, says the woman who taught him piano lessons for 14 years also instilled in him a real love of music.

"She would always play it first, the whole piece, and if you didn't like it you wouldnt have to play it," Sniady explains. "She would help you find a piece you loved playing and that's why kids loved taking lessons from her because they never played a piece that wasnt fun to play."

As for the Krupicka girls, they aren't sure when and if they'll be ready to find their next piano teacher. But they say no matter what they will continue to play.

"I'm pretty sure I will still enjoy it because she's taught me to enjoy it," Gillian Krupicka says.

"I cant really imagine taking piano lessons from someone else," her sister Janelle Krupicka adds. "I think it's going to be very very different if I ever try to have a different teacher and maybe I will just to honor Mrs. Lodato to try to keep going and do something you love and you have to try harder to do something you love."

As students begin adjusting to a new schedule without their beloved teacher, Alexandria Police say beginning Monday detectives and officers will be out in the community surrounding Ridge Road Drive speaking with residents and handing out flyers. Any law enforcement officer you encounter will identify themselves and have credentials.

If you are apprehensive, call 703-746-4444 or 911 if you are in immediate danger.

Police also say residents in that area should continue to take standard precautions with their safety. Lock your doors and windows at all times. Be sure of who is at your door before you answer and do not open your door for strangers.

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