News & Politics

Terror in October: 23 Horrifying Days

A timeline of the snipers and victims.

Images clockwise from top left. Photograph of gas station courtesy of ZUMA Press/Newscom. Photograph of Truck courtesy of AFP/Getty Images. Photograph of Muhammad courtesy of EPA/Newscom. Photograph of Moose courtesy of KRT/Newscom.

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

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

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

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

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.

See Also:
Terror in October
A Sniper’s Ex-Wife Speaks