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Beltway sniper attacks

The Beltway Sniper attacks took place over three weeks of October 2002, in which ten people were killed and three other critically injured by spree killers in and around Washington D.C, stretching across the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. On October 24, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested at a highway rest area.

Authorities initially attributed the attacks to a lone sniper, dubbed by journalists the "Beltway Sniper", the "Washington Sniper", the "Serial Sniper" or the "Tarot Card Killer" (see serial killer).

The sniper attacks began October 2, 2002, with a series of five fatal shootings in 15 hours in Montgomery County, Maryland, a northern suburb of Washington, and continued for the next three weeks in the Washington metropolitan area, filling the area with fear. Police received messages left at the murder locations and believe the killer may have worked in concert with another person.

The shootings occurred at gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, and schools in a rough circular pattern around Washington. The victims were apparently selected at random, crossing racial, gender, and socioeconomic categories. The locations of the attacks always had close freeway access. It is believed the sniper used the circular Capital Beltway to get from place to place.

The attacks were carried out with a Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic .223 caliber rifle, the civilian equivalent of the U.S. military's M-16 assault rifle, at a range of 50 to over 100 yards. The rifle came from Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Washington, which did not report the missing rifle, as required by federal law.

The investigation was publicly headed by Montgomery County, Maryland Police Chief Charles A. Moose, with assistance from the FBI and police departments in other jurisdictions where killings had taken place.

Police responded to reports of attacks over the next three weeks within minutes, cordoning off nearby roads and highways and inspecting all drivers, thereby grinding all traffic to a halt for hours at a time in one of America's largest metropolitan areas.

Eyewitness testimony to the attacks was mostly confused and spotty. Hotlines set up for the investigation were flooded with tips, as was the post office box set up for mail. The most common reports were of a boxy white van.

The sniper 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, including one Death card upon which was written "Dear Policeman, I am God. Do not tell the media about this." This information was leaked to the press. 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.

It has been alleged that the snipers engaged in a series of previously unconnected attacks prior to October 2.

On October 17th, 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. In 2003 a book was published written by former Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose.

Table of contents
1 Timeline
2 Possible copycats
3 External links and references


Possible copycats

External links and references