“Dear Policeman: I am God”
During a three-week period in October 2002 ten people where killed and three seriously injured by a sniper in Maryland and Virginia. The first victim, James D. Martin, a 55-year-old program analyst, was killed at 6.04pm on 2 October 2002 in the car park of Shoppers Food Warehouse at 2201 Randolph Road, Wheaton, Maryland.
The next morning four more people were murdered in the space of two hours and another was shot dead that evening in the District of Columbia. James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, was shot about 7.40am while pushing a lawnmower behind a car showroom at 11411 Rockville Pike, White Flint. At 8.12am Premkumar Walekar, 54, a taxi driver, had just bought a lottery ticket, newspaper and chewing gum from a Mobil garage at Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue and was killed while filling his cab with petrol.
At 8.37am Sarah Ramos, 34, was shot while sitting on a bench in front of Crisp & Juicy Charbroiled Chicken restaurant at 3701 Rossmoor Boulevard, Silver Spring, Maryland and at 9.58am Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, a nanny, was gunned down while vacuuming her employers’ maroon Dodge Caravan at the Shell garage on Knowles and Connecticut avenues, Kensington, Maryland. At 9.20pm Pascal Chariot, a 72-year-old retired carpenter, was shot on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Kalmia Road, NW Washington DC. At 2.30pm on 4 October, 43-year-old Caroline Seawell was shot in the car park of Michaels Craft Store at Spotsylvania Mall, Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
At 8.08am on 7 October 13-year-old schoolboy Iran Brown was shot in the chest after being dropped off at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, 4901 Collington Road, Bowie, Maryland. He survived. At the scene the police found the death card from a tarot pack on which had been written, “Dear Policeman: I am God”. At 8.18pm on 9 October 53-year-old Dean Harold Meyers was shot in the head while buying petrol at the Sunoco gas station at 7203 Sudley Road in Prince William County, Virginia.
At 9.30am on 11 October 53-year-old Kenneth Bridges was also buying petrol when he was shot dead at the Exxon garage at Route 1 and Market Street, Spotsylvania County. It was 9.15pm on 14 October when 47-year-old Linda Franklin, an FBI intelligence analyst, was shot dead at Seven Corners Shopping Center, Fairfax County, Virginia. On 19 October at 7.59pm Jeffrey Hopper, 37, was shot in the car park of Ponderosa Steakhouse, 809 England Street, Ashland, Virginia. At 5.59am on 22 October bus driver Conrad Johnson, 35, was killed as he stood on the top step of his bus at the junction of Grand Pre Road and Connecticut Avenue in Aspen Hill, Maryland.
Maryland; Virginia, USA
6.04pm Wednesday 2-5.59am Tuesday 22 October 2002
On 24 October the Washington Sniper was discovered to be two men – John Allen Muhammad, 41, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17. They were arrested after being found asleep in a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan at a service station on the Interstate 70 near Myersville, Maryland.
Ballistics tests proved that the Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic .223 calibre rifle found in the car was linked to the shootings. At their trials both were found guilty of murder. Muhammad was sentenced to death and Malvo life in prison without parole. The Virginia Supreme Court confirmed Muhammad’s death penalty on 22 April 2005.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Some eyewitnesses described the shooter as “a crazy white guy armed with an AK-47, driving about in a boxy white van”. The shooters were two black men in an old blue Chevrolet.