In this handout photo released by the Philadelphia Police Department, a Tuesday, May 17, 2005, video still shows murder victim Patricia McDermott, left, and her unidentified killer moments before McDermott was shot on a downtown Philadelphia street. McDer
Photo credit: Philadelphia Police Department
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A woman on her way to work was shot in the back of the head by a man who followed her from a bus stop, a killing recorded by post office surveillance cameras.
Police on Wednesday released grainy images of the crime in hopes that someone will come forward with more information.
Patricia McDermott, 48, of Elkins Park, commuted daily to her job as an X-ray technician at Pennsylvania Hospital. She was shot in the head shortly before daybreak Tuesday, steps from where she got off the bus.
Three images gleaned from surveillance cameras show exactly what happened.
A man follows McDermott after she gets off a bus across from the Gallery, a popular downtown shopping mall. She begins walking toward the hospital and a man catches up and walks beside her. In a picture released by investigators, a piece of tape obscures the gun.
The attacker doesn't appear to rob McDermott or engage her in conversation before killing her.
"He just does what he does, which was a totally brutal thing," said police Capt. Richard Ross. "Totally heartless."
The final image shows the attacker fleeing across a parking lot.
Police have not established a motive and are not sure if the gunman had been on the bus with McDermott.
"We're still totally open with respect to motive, with respect to whether this person was known to her or whether it was a random thing," Ross said.
"We believe she was certainly targeted for some reason," he added. "She wasn't the only one getting off at Ninth Street."
Ross described the shooter as a medium- or light-skinned black or Hispanic man in his mid to late 30s, wearing a light jacket and a baseball cap.
Police released a sketch of a man they called a "person of interest" who was on the bus and may have gotten off at the same time McDermott did. The description of the person in the sketch is very similar to that of the attacker, but police did not call the man a suspect. Efforts are under way to enhance the footage.
McDermott had no known enemies or problems at work and was well-liked by those who knew her, Ross said. She left behind a husband, a 16-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. Co-workers said she worked the early shift so she could spend more time with her children.