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Locations of the 15 sniper attacks numbered chronologically.
The Beltway sniper attacks took place during three weeks in October 2002 in Washington, D.C.marker, Marylandmarker, and Virginiamarker. Ten people were killed and three others critically injured in various locations throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area and along Interstate 95 in Virginiamarker. It was widely speculated that a single sniper was using the Capital Beltway for travel, possibly in a white van or truck. It was later learned that the rampage was perpetrated by one man, John Allen Muhammad, and one minor, Lee Boyd Malvo, driving a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan, and had apparently begun the month before with murders and robbery in Louisianamarker and Alabamamarker, which had resulted in three deaths.

In September 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death. One month later, Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. On November 10, 2009, Muhammad was executed by lethal injection.

Preliminary shootings

On September 5, 2002, at 10:30 p.m., Paul LaRuffa, a 55-year-old pizzeria owner, was shot six times at close range while locking up his Italian restaurant in Clinton, Marylandmarker. LaRuffa survived the shooting and his laptop computer was found in John Muhammad's car when he and Malvo were arrested.

On September 21, 2002, Claudine Parker, a liquor store clerk in Montgomery, Alabamamarker, was shot and killed during a robbery. Her co-worker, Kellie Adams, was injured, but survived. Evidence found at the crime scene eventually tied this killing to the Beltway attacks and allowed authorities to identify Muhammad and Malvo as suspects, although this connection was not made until October 17.

Washington, D.C. area attacks

Montgomery County, Maryland

At 5:20 p.m. on October 2, 2002, a shot was fired through a window of a Michaels Craft Store in Aspen Hill. As no one was injured, no serious alarms were raised. About an hour later, at 6:30 p.m., James Martin, a 55-year-old program analyst at NOAA, was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Shoppers Food Warehouse grocery store, located in Glenmont.

On the morning of October 3, four people were shot within a span of approximately 2 hours in Aspen Hill, and other nearby areas in Montgomery Countymarker. Another was killed that evening in the District of Columbiamarker, just over the border from Silver Springmarker.

  • At 7:41 a.m., James L. Buchanan, a 39-year-old landscaper known as "Sonny", was shot dead in Montgomery Countymarker near Rockville, Marylandmarker. Buchanan was shot while mowing the grass at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall.

  • At 8:12 a.m., 54-year-old part-time taxi driver Premkumar Walekar was killed in Aspen Hillmarker in Montgomery County, while pumping gasoline into his taxi at a Mobil station at Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue.

  • Sarah Ramos, a 34-year-old babysitter and housekeeper, was killed at 8:37 a.m. at the Leisure World Shopping Center in Aspen Hill. She had gotten off a bus, and was seated on a bench, reading a book.

  • At 9:58 a.m., in what was to be the last killing of the morning, 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was killed while vacuuming her Dodge Caravan at the Shell station at the intersection of Connecticut & Knowles Avenues in Kensington, Marylandmarker.

  • The snipers then waited until 9:15 p.m. before shooting Pascal Charlot, a 72-year-old retired carpenter, while he was walking on Georgia Avenue at Kalmia Road, in Washington, D.C. Charlot died less than an hour later.

In each shooting, the victims were killed by a single bullet fired from some distance. The pattern was not detected until after the shootings occurred on October 3.

Fear quickly spread throughout the community as news of the shootings spread. Many parents went to pick up their children at school early, not allowing them to take a school bus or walk home alone. Montgomery County Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, and private schools went into a lockdown, with no recess or outdoor gym classes. Other school districts in the area also took precautionary measures, keeping students indoors.

Virginia and other areas

At this point Malvo and Muhammad started covering a wider area and taking more time between shootings. On October 4, 43-year-old Caroline Seawell was wounded at 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Michaels Craft Store at Spotsylvania Mallmarker in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, just outside the city of Fredericksburg, while she was loading purchases into her minivan.

On October 7, at 8:09 a.m., Iran Brown, a 13-year-old boy, was shot — accounts vary between the lower body, stomach and chest — as he arrived at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Marylandmarker, in Prince George's Countymarker (Brown's name was concealed from the public but was later revealed). His aunt, a nurse who had just brought him to school, rushed him to a hospital emergency room. Despite serious injuries, including damage to several major organs, Brown survived from the attack and ultimately testified at Muhammad's trial. At this crime scene the authorities discovered a shell casing as well as a Tarot card (the Death card) inscribed with the phrase, "Call me God" on the front and, on three separate lines on the back, "For you mr. Police." "Code: 'Call me God'." and "Do not release to the press."

Two days later, on October 9 at 8:18 p.m., 53-year-old Dean Harold Meyers was shot dead while pumping gasoline at a Sunoco gas station on Sudley Road in Prince William County, Virginiamarker, near the city of Manassasmarker.

Again, two days later, on the morning of October 11 at 9:30 a.m., 53-year-old Kenneth Bridges was shot dead while pumping fuel at an Exxon station off Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County, Virginiamarker, near Fredericksburgmarker.

On October 14, at 9:15 p.m., 47-year-old Linda Franklin, an FBI intelligence analyst who was a resident of Arlington County, Virginiamarker, was shot dead after she finished shopping at a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginiamarker, just outside Falls Churchmarker at Seven Corners Shopping Centermarker. The police received what seemed to be a very good lead after the October 14 shooting, but it was later determined that the witness was inside the Home Depot at the time and was lying. The witness was subsequently arrested for interfering with the investigation.

After a five day interval, 37-year-old Jeffrey Hopper was shot on October 19 at 8:00 p.m. in a parking lot near the Ponderosa steakhouse in Ashland, Virginiamarker, about 90 miles south of Washington, near Interstate 95. Authorities discovered a 4-page letter from the shooter in the woods.

On October 21, Richmond-area police arrested two men, one with a white van, outside a gas station. The men turned out to be illegal immigrants with no connection to the shooter and they were remanded in the custody of what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently deported them.

The next day, October 22, bus driver Conrad Johnson was shot dead at 5:56 a.m. while standing on the steps of his bus in Aspen Hill, Marylandmarker. Chief Moose released part of the content of one of the shooter's communications, in which he declares, "Your children are not safe, anywhere, at any time".

While no shootings occurred on October 23, the day is significant for two events. First, ballistics experts confirmed Johnson as the tenth fatality in the Beltway shootings. Second, in a yard in Tacoma, Washingtonmarker police searched with metal detectors for bullets, shell casings, or other evidence that might provide a link to the shooters. A tree stump believed to have been used for target practice was seized.


The incident came to a close on October 24, when Muhammad and Malvo were found sleeping in their car, a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, at a rest stop off of Interstate 70 near Myersville, Marylandmarker, and arrested on federal weapons charges. Police were tipped off by Ron Lantz, who noticed the parked car. Lantz used his truck to block the exit from the rest stop while he alerted police. A Bushmaster .223-caliber weapon and bipod were found in a bag in Muhammad's car. Ballistics tests later conclusively linked the seized rifle to 11 of the 14 shootings, including one in which no one was injured.

Logistics and tactics

The attacks were carried out with the firearm found in the vehicle, a stolen Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic .223 caliber rifle equipped with a red-dot sight at ranges of between 50 and over 100 yards.

The sniper shot from the trunk of the car from a small holecreated for that purpose.


The investigation was publicly headed by the Montgomery County Police Department and its Police Chief, Charles Moose. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBImarker, the Secret Service, the Virginia Department of Transportation and police departments in other jurisdictions where shootings took place, provided assistance in the investigation.

Police responded within minutes to reports of attacks during the three weeks of the sniper attacks, cordoning off nearby roads and highways and inspecting all drivers, thereby grinding traffic to a halt for hours at a time. Police canvassed the area, talking to people, and collected surveillance tapes.

By Friday night, October 4, the five shootings on October 3 and two on October 2 were forensically linked to the same gun.

Eyewitness accounts of the attacks were mostly confused and spotty. Hotlines set up for the investigation were flooded with tips, as was the post office box set up for tips by mail. Early tips from eyewitnesses included reports of a white box truck with dark lettering, speeding away from the Leisure World shopping center, with two men inside. Police across the area and the state of Marylandmarker were pulling over white vans and trucks. A gray car was spotted speeding away after the October 4 shooting in Spotsylvania.

The shooter attempted to engage the police in a dialogue, compelling Moose to tell the media cryptic messages intended for the sniper. At several scenes Tarot cards were left as calling cards, including one Death card upon which was written "Call me God" on the front and on the back on three separate lines the words, "For you mr. Police." "Code: 'Call me God'." "Do not release to the press." This information was leaked to the press and misquoted often as "I am God" or some similar mis quote of the actual words on the tarot card. Later scenes had long, handwritten notes carefully sealed inside plastic bags, including a rambling one that demanded $10,000,000 and threatened the lives of children in the area.

A telephone call from the shooter(s) was traced to a pay telephone at a gasoline station in Henrico County, Virginiamarker. Police missed the suspects by a matter of a few minutes, and initially detained occupants of a van at another pay telephone at the same intersection.

On the phone call, the sniper, boasting of his cleverness, also mentioned a previous unsolved murder in "Montgomery". This was identified as the September 21 shooting at a liquor store in Montgomery, Alabama. On October 17 authorities said they matched Malvo's fingerprint found at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School site with one lifted from the liquor store scene. After further research into Malvo's background it was discovered he had close ties to a John Allen Muhammad.

During the period of the attacks, the North American media devoted enormous amounts of air time and newspaper space to each new attack. By the middle of October 2002, all-news television networks were providing live coverage of the aftermath of each new attack, with the coverage often lasting for hours at a time. The Fox show "America's Most Wanted" devoted an entire episode to the shooters in hopes of aiding in their capture.

Despite an apparent lack of progress publicly, federal authorities were making significant headway in their investigation and developed leads in Washington state, Alabama, and New Jersey. They learned that Muhammad's ex-wife, who had obtained a protective order against him, lived near the Capital Beltway in Clintonmarker, a community in suburban Prince George's County, Marylandmarker. Information was also developed about an automobile purchased in New Jersey by Muhammad.

Much to their shock, police discovered that the New Jerseymarker license plates issued to Muhammad on the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice had been checked by radio patrol cars several times near shooting locations in various jurisdictions in several states, but the car had not been stopped because law enforcement computer networks did not indicate that it was connected to any criminal activity and they were focused exclusively on the "white van."

On October 3, D.C. police stopped the Caprice for a "minor traffic infraction," two hours prior to the shooting of Pascal Charlot, after which witnesses reported seeing a Caprice near the scene.

On October 8, Baltimore city police investigated a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice with a person sleeping inside parked near the Jones Falls Expressway at 28th St. in Baltimore. The officers were concerned that the driver's license was from Washington state and the vehicle tag was from New Jersey. Despite the fact that the vehicle was suspicious enough for them to investigate, and the fact that the vehicle fit the description of a vehicle associated with the shooting in D.C. five days earlier, the officers did not question the occupants extensively, nor did they search the vehicle.

Authorities were quick to issue a media alert to the public to be on the lookout for a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice sedan. For the public, as well as for law enforcement agencies throughout the region, this was a major change from the mysterious "white box truck" earlier sought based upon reported sightings.

The Chevrolet Caprice was also later revealed to have formerly been used as an undercover police car in Bordentown, New Jerseymarker.


Investigators and the prosecution at trial suggested that Muhammad intended to kill his ex-wife Mildred, who had estranged him from his children. According to this theory, she would appear to be just another random victim of the snipers. Muhammad frequented the neighborhood where she lived during the attacks, and some of the incidents occurred nearby. Additionally, he had earlier made threats against her. Mildred herself made the claim that she was his intended target. However Judge LeRoy Millette, Jr. prevented prosecutors from presenting that theory during the trial, saying that a link had not been firmly established.

While imprisoned, Malvo wrote a number of erratic diatribes about what he termed "jihad" against the United States. "I have been accused on my mission. Allah knows I'm gonna suffer now", he wrote. Because his rants and drawings featured not only such figures as Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, but also characters from the film series The Matrix, these musings were dismissed as immaterial. Some investigators reportedly said they had all but eliminated terrorist ties or political ideologies as a motive. Nonetheless, in at least one of the ensuing murder trials, a Virginia court found Muhammad guilty of killing "pursuant to the direction or order" of terrorism.

At the 2006 trial of Muhammad, Malvo testified that the aim of the killing spree was to kidnap children for the purpose of extorting money from the government and to "set up a camp to train children how to terrorize cities", with the ultimate goal being to "shut things down" across the United States.




  • James Martin
  • James Buchanan
  • Premkumar Walekar
  • Sarah Ramos
  • Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera
  • Pascal Charlot
  • Dean Harold Meyers
  • Kenneth Bridges
  • Linda Franklin
  • Conrad Johnson


  • Caroline Seawell
  • Iran Brown
  • Jeffrey Hopper

Criminal prosecutions

Virginia trials

Before trial, Chief Moose engaged in a publicity tour for his book on the sniper investigation, including appearances on "Dateline NBC", "Today", and "The Tonight Show". "Personally, I don't understand why someone who's been in law enforcement his whole life would potentially damage our case or compromise a jury pool by doing this," Assistant Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney James Willett told The Washington Post.

In accordance with United States law, each man was provided free legal counsel at public expense since they were both indigent. Change of venue requests by defense attorneys were granted, and the first trials were held in the independent cities of Chesapeakemarker and Virginia Beachmarker in southeastern Virginia, more than 100 miles from the closest alleged attack (in Ashland, Virginia).

During their trials in the fall of 2003, involving two of the victims in Virginia, Muhammad and Malvo were each found guilty of murder and weapons charges. The jury in Muhammad's case recommended that he be sentenced to death, while Malvo's jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole instead of the death penalty. The judges concurred in both cases. Alabama law enforcement authorities allege that the snipers engaged in a series of previously unconnected attacks prior to October 2 in Montgomery, Alabamamarker. Other charges are also pending in Maryland and other communities in Virginia.

After the initial convictions and sentencing, Will Jarvis, a Virginia prosecutor in Prince William County, stated he would wait to decide whether to try Malvo on capital charges in his jurisdiction until the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker ruled on whether juveniles may be subject to the penalty of execution. While that decision in an unrelated case was still pending before the high court, in October 2004, under a plea-agreement, Malvo plead guilty in another case in Spotsylvania Countymarker, Virginia for another murder to avoid a possible death penalty sentence, and agreed to additional sentencing of life imprisonment without parole. Malvo had yet to face trial in Prince William County, Virginia.

In March 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that the Eighth Amendment prohibits execution for crimes committed when under the age of 18. In light of this Supreme Court decision, the prosecutors in Prince William County have decided not to pursue the charges against Malvo. Prosecutors in Marylandmarker, Louisianamarker and Alabamamarker were still interested in putting both Malvo and Muhammad on trial. As Malvo was 17 when he committed the crimes, he will no longer face the death penalty, but still may be extradited to Alabama, Louisiana, and other states for prosecution. At the time of the Roper v. Simmons ruling, Malvo was 20 years old, and was held at Virginia's maximum security Red Onion State Prison in Poundmarker in Wise County, Virginiamarker.

"Muhammad, with his sniper team partner, Malvo, randomly selected innocent victims" Virginia Supreme Court Justice Donald Lemons wrote in the decision. "With calculation, extensive planning, premeditation and ruthless disregard for life, Muhammad carried out his cruel scheme of terror."

Muhammad's death penalty was affirmed by the Virginia Supreme Court on April 22, 2005, when it ruled that he could be sentenced to death because the murder was part of an act of terrorism. This line of reasoning was based on the handwritten note demanding $10,000,000. The court rejected an argument by defense lawyers that Muhammad could not be sentenced to death because he was not the triggerman in the killings linked to him and Malvo.

He was eventually sentenced to lethal injection, scheduled for November 11, 2009. He petitioned the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker to stay his execution, but it was denied. He also requested clemency from current Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, but this was denied as well. The execution began shortly after 9 p.m. on November 10, and he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

Maryland trials

In May 2005, Virginia and Maryland announced that they had reached agreements to allow Maryland to proceed with prosecuting charges there, where the most shootings occurred. There were media reports that Malvo and his legal team were willing to negotiate his cooperation, and he waived extradition to Maryland.

Muhammad and his legal team responded by fighting extradition to Maryland. Muhammad's legal team was ultimately unsuccessful, and extradition was ordered by a Virginia judge in August 2005.

Maryland has agreed to transfer Muhammad and Malvo back to the Commonwealth of Virginia after their trials. A date for Muhammad's pending execution in Virginia has been set for November 10th 2009.

Malvo pled guilty to six murders and confessed to others in other states while being interviewed in Maryland and while testifying there against Muhammad. Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

On May 30, 2006, a Marylandmarker jury found John Allen Muhammad guilty of six counts of murder in Maryland. In return, he was sentenced to six consecutive life terms without possibility of parole on June 1, 2006.

On May 6, 2008, it was revealed that Muhammad has asked prosecutors in a letter to help him end legal appeals of his conviction and death sentence "so that you can murder this innocent black man." An appeal filed by Muhammad's defense lawyers in April 2008 cited evidence of brain damage that may render Muhammad incompetent to make legal decisions, and that he should not have been allowed to represent himself at his Virginia trial.

Malvo testimony

In John Allen Muhammad's May 2006 trial in Montgomery County, Marylandmarker, Lee Boyd Malvo took the stand and confessed to a more detailed version of the pair's plans. Malvo, after extensive psychological counseling, admitted that he was lying at the earlier Virginiamarker trial where he had admitted to being the triggerman for every shooting. Malvo claimed that he had said this in order to protect John Allen Muhammad from a potential death sentence, and because it was more difficult to obtain the death penalty for a minor. Malvo said that he wanted to do what little he could for the families of the victims by letting the full story be told. In his two days of testimony, Malvo outlined many very detailed aspects of all the shootings.

Part of his testimony concerned John Allen Muhammad's complete multiphase plan. His plan consisted of three phases in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimoremarker metro areas. Phase one consisted of meticulously planning, mapping, and practicing their locations around the D.C. area. This way after each shooting they would be able to quickly leave the area on a predetermined path, and move on to the next location. John Allen Muhammad's goal in Phase One was to kill 6 people a day for 30 days. Malvo went on to describe how Phase One did not go as planned due to heavy traffic and the lack of a clear shot and/or getaway at different locations.

Phase Two was meant to be moved up to Baltimore. Malvo described how this phase was close to being implemented, but never was carried out. Phase Two was intended to begin by killing a pregnant woman by shooting her in the stomach. The next step would have been to shoot and kill a Baltimore police officer. Then, at the officer's funeral, they were to create several improvised explosive devices complete with shrapnel. These explosives were intended to kill a large number of police, since many police would attend another officer's funeral.

The last phase was to take place very shortly after, if not during, Phase Two. The third phase was to extort several million dollars from the United Statesmarker government. This money would be used to finance a larger plan. The plan was to travel north into Canadamarker. Along the way they would stop in YMCAs and orphanages recruiting other impressionable young boys with no parents or guidance. John Allen Muhammad thought he could act as their father figure as he did with Lee Boyd Malvo. Once he recruited a large number of young boys and made his way up to Canada, he would begin their training. Malvo described how John Allen Muhammad intended to train all these boys with weapons and stealth, as he had been taught. Finally, after their training was complete, John Allen Muhammad would send them out across the United Statesmarker to carry out mass shootings in many different cities, just as he had done in Washington and Baltimore. These attacks would be coordinated, and were intended to send the country into chaos.

A series of trial exhibits indicated that Malvo and Muhammad were motivated by an affinity for Islamic Jihad.

  • Exhibit 65-006: A self-portrait of Malvo in the cross hairs of a gun scope shouting, "ALLAH AKBAR!" The word "SALAAM" scrawled vertically. A lyric from Bob Marley's Natural Mystic "Many more will have to suffer. Many more will have to die. Don't ask me why."
  • Exhibit 65-016: A portrait of Saddam Hussein with the words "INSHALLAH" and "The Protector," surrounded by rockets labeled "chem" and "nuk."
  • Exhibit 65-043: Father and son portrait of Malvo and Muhammad. "We will kill them all. Jihad."
  • Exhibit 65-056: A self-portrait of Malvo as sniper, lying in wait, with his rifle. "JIHAD" written in bold letters.
  • Exhibit 65-067: A suicide bomber labeled "Hamas" walking into a McDonald's restaurant. Another drawing of the Twin Towers burning captioned: "85 percent chance Zionists did this." More scrawls: "ALLAH AKBAR," "JIHAD" and "Islam will explode."
  • Exhibit 65-103: A lion accompanies chapter and verse from the Koran (Sura 2:190): "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them."
  • Exhibit 65-109: Portrait of Osama bin Laden, captioned "Servant of Allah."
  • Exhibit 65-117: The White House drawn in crosshairs, surrounded by missiles, with a warning: "Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a picnic to you" and "you will bleed to death little by little."
  • Exhibit 65-101: Malvo's thought for the day: "Islam the only true guidance, the way of peace."

Regulatory, civil actions

According to the Seattle Times in a story of April 20, 2003, Muhammad had honed his marksmanship at Bull's Eye's firing range. The newspaper also reported that Malvo told investigators that he shoplifted the 35-inch-long carbine from the "supposedly secure store."

According to U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) officials, the store and its owners had a long history of firearms sales and records violations and a file 283 pages thick. In July 2003, the ATF revoked the federal firearms license of Brian Borgelt, a former Staff Sgt. with the U.S. Army Rangers and owner of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply. Later that month he transferred ownership of the store to a friend and continued to own the building and operate the adjacent shooting gallery.

On January 16, 2003, the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, on behalf of the families of many of the victims of the Beltway sniper attacks who were killed (including Hong Im Ballenger, "Sonny" Buchanan, Jr., Linda Franklin, Conrad Johnson, Sarah Ramos and James L. Premkumar Walekar) as well as two victims who survived the shooting (Rupinder "Benny" Oberoi and 13-year old Iran Brown) filed a civil lawsuit against Bull's Eye Shooter Supply and Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. of Windham, Mainemarker, the gun distributor and manufacturer that made the rifle used in the crime spree, as well as Borgelt, Muhammad and Malvo. Muhammad, who had a criminal record of domestic battery, and Malvo, a minor, were each legally prohibited from purchasing firearms.

The suit claimed that Bull's Eye Shooter Supply ran its gun store in Tacoma, Washington, "in such a grossly negligent manner that scores of its guns routinely "disappeared" from its store and it kept such shoddy records that it could not even account for the Bushmaster rifle used in the sniper shootings when asked by federal agents for records of sale for the weapon." It was alleged that the dealer could not account for hundreds of guns received from manufacturers in the years immediately prior to the Beltway sniper attacks. It was also claimed that Bull's Eye continued to sell guns in the same irresponsible manner even after Muhammad and Malvo were caught and found to have acquired the weapon there. Bushmaster was included in the suit because it allegedly continued to sell guns to Bull's Eye as a dealer despite an awareness of its record-keeping violations.

The case had been set for trial in April 2005. After losing several decisions as the case made its way through the courts, Bull's Eye contributed $2 million and Bushmaster contributed $500,000 to an out-of-court settlement. Bushmaster also agreed to educate its dealers on safer business practices.

After the settlement was announced, WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., reported that Sonia Wills, mother of victim Conrad Johnson, said her family took part in the lawsuit more to send a message than to collect money. "I think a message was delivered that you should be responsible and accountable for the actions of irresponsible people when you make these guns and put them in their hands," she said.

In the media

On October 17, 2003, on USA Network's USA cable station, a TV movie was shown that was based on the events that occurred in 2002's sniper incident. The movie's name was D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear. Also in 2003 a book written by former Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose was published.

During the fall season of 2007 BET showcased a documentary on the Beltway snipers in its "American Gangster" series.

In June 2008, Barbara Kopple released her documentary The D.C. Sniper's Wife, which told the story through the eyes of Mildred Muhammad, wife of John Muhammad. Mildred will appear on CNN's Larry King Live on November 9th, the day before her ex-husbands execution.

An episode of Serial..., a TLC show about serial killers, also covered the shootings.

Effects on society

Fear, targets outdoors

During the weeks that the attacks occurred, fear of the apparently random shootings generated a great deal of public apprehension, especially at gas stations and the parking lots of large stores. People pumping gas at gas stations would walk around their cars quickly, hoping that they would be a harder target to hit. Some gas stations put up tarpaulins around the awnings over the gas pumps so people would feel safer. Also, many people would attempt to fill their gas at the Naval Base of the National Naval Medical Center, as they felt it was safer inside the guarded fence.

After the specific threat against children was delivered, many school groups curtailed field trips and outdoors athletic activities based upon safety concerns. At the height of the public fear, some school districts, such as Henrico after the Ponderosa shooting, simply closed school for the day. Other schools such as the MJBHA, cancelled all outdoor activities after the shooting at the Connecticut and Aspen Hill intersection. Others changed after-school procedures for parents to pick up their kids to minimize the amount of time children spent in the open. Extra police officers were placed in schools because of this fear. In addition to this, Joel Schumacher's film Phone Booth was deemed potentially upsetting enough that its release was delayed for months.

Execution of John Allen Muhammad

In the days leading up to his execution, John Allen Muhammad spent time with his lawyer working out a final appeal to the Supreme Court. It was reported that the two had become close friends, with Muhammad telling his lawyer "I love you, brother" and granting him permission to write a book about the trial.

John Allen Muhammad was executed by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Centermarker in Jarratt, Virginiamarker on November 10, 2009. The execution procedure began at 9:06 p.m. EST; Muhammad was pronounced dead five minutes later. Twenty-seven people witnessed his execution including victims' family members.

See also


  1. Sniper reportedly details 4 new shootings Associated Press/KX 16 June, 2006
  2. Hickey, Eric W. Encyclopedia of Murder & Violent Crime. 2003, page 54
  3. Horwitz, sari, & Michael E. Ruane., Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation., Random House, 2003, pg.119
  4. "A BYTE OUT OF HISTORY: The Beltway Snipers, Part 1" October 22, 2007
  5. Horwitz, sari, & Michael E. Ruane., Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation., Random House, 2003, pg.119
  6. Horwitz, sari, & Michael E. Ruane., Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation., Random House, 2003, pg.120
  7. Horwitz, Ruane Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation Random House ISBN 0-345-47662-x
  11. Supreme Court rejects sniper's appeal
  12. D.C. sniper executed in Virginia
  13. DC sniper Muhammad executed for 2002 attacks
  15. Rehabbing The D.C. Snipers by Investor's Business Daily, October 17, 2007


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