Terror in October: 23 Horrifying Days
A timeline of the snipers and victims.
October 2: James D. Martin—the first victim in what is considered the start of the Washington attacks—is shot and killed in a Shoppers Food Warehouse parking lot in Wheaton.
October 3: Five people are murdered in a single day—four in Maryland, the fifth in DC: James “Sonny” Buchanan, Premkumar Walekar, Sarah Ramos, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, and Pascal Charlot.
October 3: Police announce they’re investigating a serial killing. DC, Montgomery, and Prince George’s public schools enter Code Blue, a complete lockdown.
October 4: Caroline Seawell survives a gunshot wound from a rifle in the Spotsylvania Mall parking lot. Police create a tip hotline with a $50,000 reward; it later grows to $500,000.
October 7: Thirteen-year-old Iran Brown is shot at his middle school in Bowie. He’s treated at Children’s Nation-al Medical Center for multiple injuries but survives.
October 9: Sniper fire kills Dean Harold Meyers at a Manassas gas station. To the dismay of police, the Washington Post reports that a tarot card reading “Call me God” was found near the school where Iran Brown was shot.
October 11: Kenneth Bridges becomes the fourth person killed at a gas station, this one near Fredericksburg.
October 12: Police release composite images of a white box truck, which many suspect—wrongly, it turns out—to be the sniper vehicle.
October 14: FBI analyst Linda Franklin is murdered in a Home Depot parking lot in Falls Church.
October 15: The Defense Department provides military surveillance aircraft for the investigation.
October 19: Jeffrey Hopper is shot in a steakhouse parking lot in Ashland; he survives. A note found at the scene demands $10 million and claims the attacks will continue if it’s not paid.
October 19-20: Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose holds a series of press conferences at which he addresses the killer publicly in response to messages received by police. He asks the perpetrator to call back and implores radio stations to take his plea and “carry this clearly, carry it often.”
October 22: Conrad Johnson is killed on the steps of the bus he drove in Aspen Hill. A letter found at the scene reads: “Your incompetence has cost you another life.”
October 22: Chief Moose requests help from the public, especially in keeping children safe. He reads from a note left by the killers: “Your children are not safe anywhere at any time.”
October 23: Federal agents search a yard in Washington state connected to John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who are suspected of involvement in the shootings.
October 23: Chief Moose announces an arrest warrant for Muhammad, who is “armed and dangerous” and possibly traveling with Malvo. Police issue an alert for a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey plates and a white 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity with Maryland plates.
October 24: Around 3:30 am, police arrest Muhammad and Malvo, who are sleeping in a 1990 Chevy Caprice at a rest stop in Frederick County and spotted by Whitney Donahue, who hears descriptions of the cars on the radio.
November 17, 2003: Muhammad is found guilty of murdering Dean Meyers; committing a murder in an act of terrorism; conspiracy; and use of a firearm in a felony. He’s executed in 2009.
December 18, 2003: Malvo is found guilty of murdering Linda Franklin and at least one other person (left unspecified). In March 2004, he’s sentenced to life in prison without parole.