James Buchanan usually stopped by Fitzgerald Auto Mall on Fridays to tend to the landscaping.
This week, he came early Thursday and was mowing when he was shot to death in what police believe was one of five random sniper attacks in the Washington suburbs.
"I think he was just in the wrong place in the wrong time," said Dottie Fitzgerald, who runs the dealership.
Buchanan, 39, worked as an independent landscaper, but he was also an amateur poet and volunteer who worked with underprivileged children through local Boys and Girls clubs, she said. He had recently sold his nearby home and planned to move to a Christmas tree farm he owned in Virginia.
"He always said that you help the underprivileged because if they don't get a helping hand, the cycles perpetuate," said his sister, Victoria Snider.
Fitzgerald said he helped children by teaching them how to garden.
"He would help them plant a seed, nurture it and watch it grow," she said. "He would teach that if you do that with people, they will grow, too. He was doing that with them."
James Martin, the father of an 11-year-old boy and leader of his Boy Scout troop, was in the parking lot of a grocery store when he was fatally shot.
"He was a wonderful person. It's really tragic," said Ann Smid, who lived across the street from Martin for over a decade in a middle-class neighborhood of Silver Spring.
Martin, 55, a program analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office of marine and aviation operations, was a Civil War buff and an amateur genealogist. Co-workers said he married late in life and was devoted to his wife and son.
He volunteered at Shepherd Elementary School in Washington, judging the school's science fair and arranging for the donation of computers, which he delivered himself.
Premkumar A. Walekar, a part-time cab driver, didn't normally start his day early.
But with a forecast Thursday of sunshine and highs in the 80s, he rose early, figuring he'd do his work and then enjoy the rest of the day.
The 54-year-old from Olney was killed while pumping gas into his taxi at a Mobil station in the Aspen Hills area.
"Normally, he doesn't go out that early," said his daughter Andrea Walekar, 24, a business student at the University of Maryland. "He wasn't supposed to be there."
Walekar was born in Bombay and immigrated to the United States to study at Montgomery College. His brother arranged his marriage to a woman who already in the country.
"They had never met until two or three days before the wedding took place," said his brother, Vijay Walekar of Gaithersburg. "After the marriage, there was love."
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera doted on her preschool-aged daughter, said neighbor Janine Rocah, crying as she sat on the front steps of their apartment complex in a working-class section of Silver Spring.
"She was her sweet little princess," Rocah said. "The mom provided everything for her."
Lewis-Rivera, 25, was killed early Thursday at a Shell gas station in Kensington. She worked in Washington and had moved into the garden apartment about a year ago with her daughter and husband, but dreamed of moving to a house, Rocah said.
Their children played together, she said, and Lewis-Rivera's daughter had a room filled with games and toys.
"She was a very nice and sweet lady. Like any human being, she had dreams."
Sarah Ramos had gotten off a bus at the Leisure World Shopping Center and sat down on a bench to read when she was shot in the head.
Family and friends of the 34-year-old from Silver Spring declined to be interviewed to discuss her life.
By Thursday afternoon, a bouquet of flowers had been placed on the bench where she was killed.