10/2/2002 - A short reign of domestic terror begins for the Maryland and Virginia regions, and the United States as a whole, when at 5:20 p.m., as people are easing into their evenings, a sniper bullet narrowly misses a cashier working at the Michaels craft shop in the town of Aspen Hill, Maryland. The opening salvo in a nightmare that will last for almost a month, the deaths begin an hour later when James Martin, a 55-year-old NOAA program analyst is shot and killed by a single bullet that strikes him as he is walking across the parking lot of a Shoppers Food Warehouse grocery store located across the street from the Wheaton, Maryland police department.
And the next day the mayhem and murder in the area escalates! In two hours of insanity, 39-year-old landscaper James L. Buchanan is shot down while mowing the grass at the Fitzgerald Auto Malls in Rockville, 54-year-old part-time taxi driver Premkumar Walekar is murdered while putting gas in his cab at an Aspen City, Mobile service station, 34-year-old babysitter and housekeeper Sarah Ramos dies sitting on a bench, reading a book, at the Leisure World Shopping Mall of Norbeck, 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera is killed vacuuming her Dodge Caravan at a Kensington Shell station. Then that evening, a sixth fatality is added to the mounting toll ... 72-year-old retired carpenter Pascal Charlot is gunned down walking on Georgia Avenue in Washington D.C.
The heinous rampage that will come to be known as the Beltway Sniper case, is the work of two human monsters ... 42-year old John Allen Muhammad (formerly John Allen Williams before his conversion to the Nation of Islam) and 17-year-old Jamaican-American Lee Boyd Malvo. Busy being an asshole almost his entire life, Muhammad has a rap sheet that includes serving as "security" during 1995's "Million Man March," two failed marriages, the party to be restrained in a restraining order from his second wife, the kidnapping of his children from their mother, service in the United States Army as a mechanic, truck driver, and specialist metalworker in an Engineering unit during the Gulf War, while earning an Expert Rifleman's Badge for marksmanship (he will reach the position of sergeant by the time he leaves the Army with an honorable discharge in 1994), and multiple crimes before the sniping begins that include murders in Tacoma, Washington, Los Angeles, California, Tucson, Arizona, Atlanta, Georgia, Montgomery, Alabama, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Malvo is a malcontent abandoned by both parents, an illegal immigrant who enters the country by way of Miami ... pliable clay for Muhammad to mold into a killer like himself when the pair meet each other in Antigua in 1999 (where Muhammad is in hiding with his kidnapped children, while dabbling in credit card and immigration document fraud).
Muhammad & Malvo
Using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle shoplifted from Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, Washington, with Malvo crawling into the back of a blue 1990 Chevy Caprice sedan to fire out of a small hole drilled in the truck (over six feet tall, Muhammad won't fit in the sniper nest the pair have created in the trunk of the Chevy), the pair continue gunning down innocents that have the misfortune to find themselves in the cross-hairs of the maniacs. Putting purchases in her minivan, 43-year-old homemaker Caroline Seawell is wounded on October 4 at a mall in Virginia, 13-year-old Iran Brown, survives a bullet that hits him in the stomach as he arrives for a day of schooling at Bowie, Maryland's Benjamin Tasker Middle School on October 7, in the evening of October 9, 51-year-old Dean Harold Myers is murdered as he fills his gas tank at a Sunoco service station near Manassas, Virginia, October 11 sees 53-year-old businessman Kenneth Bridges killed as he fills his car at a Exxon station near Fredericksburg, Virginia, 47-year-old FBI intelligence analyst Linda Franklin is shot dead while stopped at an intersection after shopping at a Home Depot in Falls Church, Virginia on October 14, on October 19, 37-year-old Jeffrey Hopper is murdered in the parking lot of an Ashland, Virginia Ponderosa steakhouse, and standing on the steps of his vehicle, bus driver Conrad Johnson is shot down on October 22 of 2002.
How They Shot
Panic building to the point where schools and businesses are closed or function only with extensive police protection, people in droves stay indoors, gas stations put protective tarps up around their pumps, and security is increased at places like the White House and National Mall, misled hunting for a white van or truck that "witnesses" have "seen" at several of the killings (when a blue Caprice has actually been used, a vehicle that authorities stop more than once near the crimes, only to release the occupants later), authorities are powerless at first to end the shootings ... until the idiot killers provide all the clues necessary for an arrest! As if wanting to be caught, the pair leave calling card Tarot cards near several of the shooting sites, leave a handwritten note sealed in a plastic bag with a demand for $10,000,000 (which they plan to use to establish a school in Canada where young homeless black children, 140 of them, can learn how to be Muslim Jihad warriors and kill "white Devils"), and call the police numerous times, linking themselves to an as yet unsolved murder in Montgomery, Alabama.
Left At Scene
Crimes committed in different states and in a host of local jurisdictions, authorities quickly set up a joint task force of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. police, FBI agents (after FBI analyst Linda Franklin is killed, FBI personnel assigned to the case swells from 400, to over 1,000 by the time the sniping comes to an end), and BATF agents under the leadership of Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose (he will retire after and write a book about the case called Three Weeks In October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper) ... a group numbering over 2,000 individuals. And all are needed to process the over 100,000 tips that flow into the task force's offices during the crime wave. Eventually, a fingerprint left at a pay phone used by the killers to contact the police is found and linked to Malvo, as is a Malvo print left at the Montgomery murder site ... and when Malvo is researched, his association with Muhammad comes out, as does the fact that Muhammad's estranged wife is living in the area in the town of Clinton (along with the Islamic insanity school for kids, the other motive of the crimes is to give cover to Muhammad killing his ex and reclaiming his children ... her death will be believed to be just another random sniping victim, but the killers are caught before that death is achieved, and the trial judge will not allow the theory to be presented), and that Muhammad owns a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice that had been stopped by authorities in areas associated with the Beltway murders, but released because it wasn't a white van that witnesses had said the killers were driving ... TEN TIMES! Pictures of the perps, a correct car description, license plate number known, and the police are in business!
Suspects identified to both public and police, at 3:15 in the morning of 10/24/2002, a hero citizen named Whitney Donahue tips off the authorities that the car they are searching for is parked at a rest stop on Interstate 70, near the town of Myersville, Maryland. Led by Trooper First Class D. Wayne Smith, the first to arrive at the location, quickly and quietly the entire area is blocked off, with the police even commandeering the tractor-trailer of truck driver Ron Lantz to block off an exit from the rest area. Preparations completed, a SWAT team next goes into action ... car window smashed in, flash-bangs deposited, and the shocked and groggy men sleeping in the car placed in handcuffed custody ... killers out of action.
The Sniper Car
Hole They Shot From
Malvo Under Arrest
Multiple trials over the next few years required, with crime scene fingerprints, the gun connected to 11 of 14 of the killings, and a massive amount of other forensic evidence (at Muhammad's Virginia trial, 130 witnesses are called and more than 400 pieces of evidence are introduced to the jury), the prosecution of the killers is a slam dunk. Muhammad, because he was the older member of the partnership and the one behind planning the pair's crimes, is sentenced to death, and Malvo, the sociopathic teenager responsible for pulling the trigger on most of the murders, is sentenced eight different times to life in prison without the possibility of parole (with other states still wanting to get their hands on the punk for an assortment of crimes ranging from murder to robbery if somehow he should ever be freed). On 11/10/2009, after a last meal of chicken and red sauce finished with dessert cakes, Muhammad has Virginia prison authorities at the Greensville Correctional Center place a needle in his arm ... the poison drip begins at 9:06 in the evening, and by 9:11 the world is down one asshole (afterwards, Muhammad will be cremated and his ashes given to his son in Louisiana)!
Muhammad In Court
Malvo In Court
Where Muhammad Gets His
10/2/2002 ... the Beltway Sniper killings begin.