"Premeditated is my word, not law enforcement," Ripken told reporters. "Certainly there was a plan."
But the ex-baseball star then hedged, saying that "quite possibly it could have been random."
"We really just don't know why."
Violet Ripken is now safe and resting with relatives, he said. She has not yet returned home.
"You can't change your whole life and be fearful," Ripken said of the attack. "But it certainly changes your perspective."
Police in Aberdeen, Maryland, said a man with a gun showed up at her home between 7 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, and then forced her into her vehicle and drove off.
She was found about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday in the back seat of her vehicle near her home. Her hands were bound but she was otherwise unharmed.
Once she realized that she was alone in the car, the elder Ripken managed to stick a sweater out of the car window to attract attention, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Aberdeen authorities say they are still looking for motives in the case and haven't found evidence of ransom demands for the elder Ripken.
"At this time I can say we know of no ransom demand," Police Chief Henry Trabert told reporters last week. He also said police don't know of any relationship between the suspect and the Ripken family.
The suspect apparently put sunglasses on the woman and they drove around all day and made stops for gas, but made no mention of Cal Ripken Jr., Trabert said.
The gunman did take the elder Ripken's credit cards and it appears he used them at several places, the chief said.