During October 2, 2002 a series of murders started to happen around Washington D. C area, as well as in the Baltimore area. Five shootings attacks occurred in a fifteen hours period, which continued on for another three weeks. People were surrounded by fear and authorities did not have any clues of what or why these shootings were happening. Different messages and signs were left at the scene of the crime by the killer, but still nothing solid enough to have any suspects.
The shootings took places in different establishments like, gas stations, restaurants, super markets, and even near schools. Victims were selected at random, and there was not a specific gender, age group, or even an ethnicity background that was being targeted. It was determined by investigators that the killings always occurred near highways in order for the shooter to have an easy access to an escape route. The weapon of choice used by D. C Sniper was a Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic . 223 caliber rifle.
There were not any witnesses that could offer any solid description or any information. The police set up hotlines so citizens could report any suspicious activity, as well as a mailbox to receive any tips via mail. However, not enough information was gathered ( FBI, 2007). As the time went on, the shooter engaged police in different ways, he would leave the tarot death card at the scene of the crime with written messages on them like: I am God, Do not tell the media about what is going on, and even a note requesting a sum of 10 million dollars or children were going to be targeted next.
The huge investigation was led by the Montgomery County Police department along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Usually right after it is determined by the leading police department that is in fact, the work of a serial killer the FBI is asked to intervene and to become the leading agency on the matter (FBI, 2007). While the shootings continued, it was reported by a witness that a blue Chevy Caprice with New Jersey license plate was spotted leaving the area. Police quickly commenced a massive hunt for any vehicle fitting that description.
After just a few hours of releasing the description to the public via television, the sighting of the Chevy Caprice was reported to the local authorities. With less than an hour police surrounded the vehicle at a rest stop parking lot. In fact there was not only one suspect, but two of them, which were quickly apprehended and taken into custody (FBI, 2007). Right after the apprehension of both individuals the Federal Bureau Of investigation initiated was is commonly known as the criminal investigation, releasing a variety of information to the media and the public as well.
The master mind behind the attacks was identified as John Allen Williams who became John Allen Muhammad after converting to Islam. Perhaps that was the reason to his attacks, which to this date still unclear. He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on December, 1960. At a very young age the suspect joined the United States military, where he gained knowledge on weaponry including nomenclatures on different weapons and how to be an effective shooter, and it was quickly assumed that was the reason why he used the . 223 caliber rifle as his weapon of choice.
Muhammad was married twice and right after his second divorce he went into a custody battle for his three children, which the outcome concluded with him moving down to the Caribbean Island of Antigua (Biography. com, 2011). While down there, John Allen tried to start his own business, but failed in multiple occasions, which made him engaged in the illegal industry of falsifying documents for individuals seeking entrance into the United States. Furthermore, while he was down there he met a woman and her son who wanted to move to the U. S.
The seventeen year old boy named Lee Boyd Malvo, who was in actuality the second suspect. It was later discovered during the course of the investigation that Lee and his mother indeed made it to America along with Muhammad. After they arrived into U. S soil Muhammad and Malvo parted together on a quest for something more than a happy life as a family. They began to commit a variety of crimes, which included the shoplifting of the rifle used to execute the horrendous shootings. The used of the same rifle as target practicing in the subject’s backyard led to an anonymous call by neighbors.
After a search of the premises of the house shell casings were discovered and that’s how authorities determined that the weapon being used was the rifle that Malvo stole from a gun shop months earlier. Thanks to the hard work of the authorities and effort of the inter agencies operations including the FBI and ATF, leaving the linkage blindness outside of the equation and working together for the same cause, the apprehension of these criminals was a successful one rather than a more tragic one ( Fox News, 2003).
In conclusion, even thought the real motive to the killings remains a mystery, the fact of the matter is that John Allen Muhammad was a disturbed individual who dragged others into his sadistic world. Who obviously did not make it in the military neither did he have any success in his married life. Muhammad was a person who had numerous hardships involving his children, what perhaps was the stressor or the cause for the killings. Many speculate that it was an act of terrorism since he became a man of faith who followed the Quran. But in actuality, it was more than religion who caused this individual to go bizarre.
A psychological problem that possibly came from his childhood years after his mother died and his father was not around. He was raised by his aunt took over those parental responsibilities. He was a person constantly seeking attention, who evidently was not able to find it anywhere and had to recurred to extreme methods in order to gain attention, which at the end cost him his life. As a result of his crime John Allen Muhammad was sentence to death, which was executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009. As for his accomplice he is currently serving a life sentence at the Red Onion State Prison (CBS News, 2009).