Flowers and children's piano books were left in tribute Friday to a woman who shared her love of music with thousands as a long-time teacher.
Ruthann Lodato's death has sent shock waves and sadness through Alexandria.
"She was a lovely person," Amanda Altree said. "It's really a loss. My children took music classes from her when they were small and [she] pulled this community together."
With no suspect and no motive, residents of a normally quiet and crime-free area are left to wonder whether a stranger knocked on the door of the Lodato home and opened fire.
"Probably we can look through the window before we open the door," Liz Ferrel said. "It's just so sad."
Other residents are quickly adding security features to their doors. Executive Lock and Key had three calls before noon to install new door peepholes.
"People are afraid to open their doors," R.C. Huffman with Executive Lock and Key said. "So people are calling to install peepholes."
Alexandria residents are also wondering privately and out loud whether there could be a connection between Ruthanne Lodato's killing and two other high-profile unsolved murders. Nancy Dunning, the former sheriff's wife was found shot to death 10 years ago and Ron Kirby, a well-known transportation planner was shot to death in November.
All were daytime shootings, without forced entry, at the victim's home. The similarities hit Dunning's niece.
"You cant help but think something is connected here and it's unnerving," Kate Moran said.
She said the latest killing also brings back the fear and sorrow she once experienced -- emotions the Lodato family now faces.
"I can't speak to their pain but I know having gone through what our family did... it's life-changing," she said.