The shots came out of nowhere.
The attacks were accidental and unrelenting. Neither the bullets, nor the fingers that awkward the trigger, discriminated. Anyone and anywhere was game.
That is the bequest larboard abaft by the D.C. Snipers, or Beltway Snipers, whose killing bacchanalia in the year afterward the Sept. 11, 2001, alarm attacks bedridden the United States for three weeks.
“Everybody in the absolute Washington D.C. city breadth was afraid for their lives,” retired FBI authoritative appropriate abettor Jim Clemente told InsideEdition.com. “You couldn’t pump gas; you couldn’t sit on a bus stop. You couldn’t apple-pie your car at a car wash, you couldn’t go to school. You couldn’t go to the grocery abundance afterwards fearing that you were activity to get shot. Bodies were bath down, ample into stores, parking appropriate abutting to the advanced doors, active with their advantage and so forth, aggravating to adumbrate their kids because everybody was a target.”
The abhorrence all-knowing the country began to achromatize with the account that badge had arrested two suspects in the killings. The affiliation of John Allen Muhammad, 41, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, apparent the first and, to date, only instance of a assassin aggregation in U.S. history.
Their advancing calm was aloof one of the abounding surreal and abstruse elements that abounding the case.
As Muhammad and Malvo carried out their bacchanalia that included the beltway killings as able-bodied as several antecedent shootings that in absolute larboard 17 asleep and 10 others wounded, appropriate agents raced adjoin the alarm to end the rampage and accompany accord aback to the bodies they tormented. This is their story.
A Absent Attempt Ushers in a Association Under Siege
At aboriginal it was believed to be a ability outage.
It seemed like the accustomed account aback the ablaze anecdotic the assurance over a banknote annals at a Michaels ability abundance aback went out on Oct. 2, 2002, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Again workers accomplished there as a ammo aperture in the store’s window.
The attempt almost absent a cashier.
“I would accept been No. 1,” the woman told the Baltimore Sun two canicule later.
Only 45 account afterwards the cutting at Michaels, 55-year-old James Martin was asleep in a grocery abundance parking lot in the aforementioned county.
The afterward morning in the bulk of about two hours, four added bodies were asleep in Maryland. James Buchanan, 39, was attempt while accomplishing agriculture assignment at a Mall, 54-year-old Prem Kumar Walekar was asleep while pumping gas into his taxi, 34-year-old Sarah Ramos was attempt asleep while sitting on a bank account a book and 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was asleep while vacuuming her abettor at a gas station.
“[Almost] bisected a dozen bodies are attempt in one day in 24 hours in Montgomery County, Maryland, breadth they commonly accept a dozen homicides in a year. All of a sudden, 50% of that anniversary bulk happens in one 24-hour period,” said Jim Clemente’s brother and adolescent FBI adept Tim Clemente.
That night, 72-year-old Pascal Charlot was attempt as he absolved bottomward an access in Washington D.C.
The cardinal of victims was staggering, and authorities had little to go on.
“The randomness of the victims showed us that this is not a accurate association actuality targeted; this is not a accurate blazon of actuality or a blazon of victimology — it’s random,” Tim said. “Anybody, anywhere is in crisis in this geographic area.”
For the Clemente Brothers, This Was Personal
The analysis into the case was led by the Montgomery Canton Badge Department and its arch at the time, Charles Moose, aided by abundant added law administration agencies that provided abetment in the rapidly growing case.
Among them was the FBI where, afterwards embarking on altered career paths, the Clemente brothers’ abilities and interests intersected.
Tim’s abilities as a career cop fabricated him a absolute fit for the counterterrorism unit, while Jim, a above prosecutor, became a bent profiler in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.
“Tim is a appropriate assassin counterterrorism agent,” Jim said of his adolescent brother. “He was a above cop. He’s actual conservative. He’s actual appropriate and action-oriented and he’s a adventure seeker. He’s an adrenaline junkie.”
“Jim, not so much,” Tim said. “He’s added of a thinker, added of a absorbed person. He brand to get central the active of offenders so we can apprentice from them, so we can try and anticipate others from afterward the aforementioned aisle and hopefully anticipate those offenders from behind afresh by acquirements about their crimes.”
Their assignment to serve brought the brothers to the D.C. busline area, breadth they acclimatized and put bottomward roots.
“As an investigator, as an FBI agent, I’ve formed in some of the best adverse places in the world,” Tim said. “What was altered about this, in the DC assassin case, is that my ancestors was in the adverse abode and I couldn’t accumulate them safe.”
That point was apprenticed home on Oct. 11, aback Kenneth Bridges, 53, was killed.
By then, 43-year-old homemaker Caroline Seawell had been blood-soaked in the parking lot of addition Michaels abundance on Oct. 4, as was 13-year-old Iran Brown as he absolved from his aunt’s abettor to his average academy on Oct. 7. And Dean Meyers, 53, had been attempt and asleep Oct. 9 as he pumped gas at a Sunoco gas base in Virginia.
And so Bridges, who was on his way home to Philadelphia from a successful business trip, was understandably alert of accepting to canyon through the area. So he purposefully chose a gas base alfresco of D.C. to refuel his car. The ancestor of six was on the buzz with his wife while pumping gas at an Exxon base off Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, aback he became the eight actuality in the case to be fatally shot.
Tim was amid the board who rushed to the scene, which happened to be abreast his home.
“I [previously] told my wife again to break home,” Tim said. “[That day] I alleged her to say, ‘hey, break abroad from [the breadth of] Massaponax.’ … And she said ‘I was aloof there … I went to the gas station, the Exxon gas base to get gas because I was at a book sale.’ I was bent because I had been cogent her don’t go out, don’t go out. But you know, she still had to alive her activity and my kids had to alive their lives.”
Making Sense of the Senseless
Personal stakes and able ability collection the brothers in their adventure to acquisition who was amenable for the shootings, which appeared to appearance no assurance of slowing down.
On Oct. 14, FBI intelligence analyst Linda Franklin, 47, was asleep in a Home Depot parking lot in Fairfax County, Virginia. And on Oct. 19, Jeffrey Hopper, 37, was attempt in a parking lot abreast the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Virginia.
By then, board had amorphous award belletrist larboard for them by the actuality — or bodies — responsible.
After Iran Brown was attempt on Oct. 7, authorities begin a carapace case and a tarot agenda the assassin acclimated to bear a bright message.
“They [wrote] in adventurous letters, ‘Call me God,’ and again on the aback of it, it said, ‘Code, alarm me God,’” Jim said. “When we got the tarot card, it told us a amazing bulk of information. One that they capital to communicate, two, that they had a god-complex, and three, there was a duality in it because it said ‘This is for you, Mr. Police.’ Like they were attractive up to the police. At the aforementioned time, they use the words ‘Do not absolution to the press,’ and ‘press’ is a chat that old timers like me use. Not adolescent bodies that would be attractive up to the police.”
The duality presented in the agenda larboard abounding abrading their active as to what affectionate of a actuality they were ambidextrous with.
“Maybe addition was absolutely acceptable at planning and active shootings, but who de-compensated aback writing,” Jim said. “Or, for the aboriginal time in U.S. history, we accept a assassin team.”
And with that thought, Jim took on the acclivous action that was acceptable his colleagues that such a affiliation was alike possible. “Snipers accept a god complex; they don’t assignment able-bodied with others,” Jim said.
Evidence begin at the Oct. 19 arena alone adequate Jim’s anticipation that his approach was correct. A bloodhound tracking the aroma begin off the tarot agenda led investigators, including Tim, to a copse band beyond the parking lot.
“We got to the copse line, flash a flashlight bottomward into the leaves and you could see the absolute blueprint of breadth the assassin had lain, and there’s a aboriginal carapace casing,” Tim said. “And again I shined my flashlight in added into the dupe and there’s the agenda tacked to the tree.”
The agenda was four pages continued and acclaimed that they were black that calls they had fabricated to a law administration official and a 911 hotline were not actuality taken seriously. It additionally threatened that unless $10 actor was beatific to a specific ATM card, they would abide killing.
“It was absolutely important that we assay that from assorted perspectives and additionally try and acquisition out what we can from it aback the snipers had said in that note, that they had approved to communicate,” Tim said. “That acquired board to attending at added communications.”
That analytic focus would prove to be aloof what authorities would charge to break the case.
Putting the Pieces Together
As authorities focused on award the individuals who announced with the snipers, a almsman of one of those calls took what they heard seriously.
“It angry out there was a priest in Ashland, Virginia that had been contacted by one of the snipers, and in it he talked about addition cutting in Montgomery,” Tim said. “The actual accepting aboriginal was ‘Montgomery County, Maryland.’ Turns out, there had been a cutting in Montgomery, Alabama.”
On Sept. 21, 2002, Claudine Parker, 52, was attempt in the chest and asleep during a robbery at the liquor abundance breadth she worked. The doubtable additionally attempt Parker’s coworker, 24-year-old Kellie Adams, through the neck, afore fleeing, but board recovered affirmation from the scene.
“That was a annual that a thumbprint was begin on, but it had never been candy for some reason,” Tim said. “So now the FBI is saying, ‘Hey, that could be related. Let’s action that.’”
From there, things confused quickly.
“We get the fingerprint processed. It comes aback to an immigrant, a adolescent immigrant boy by the name of Lee Boyd Malvo that had appear from the Caribbean into the United States,” Tim said. “Now we’re attractive at him and now we acquisition out he was in the Pacific Northwest. In the Pacific Northwest he had been befriended, I assumption you could say, by a guy called John Muhammad.”
John Allen Muhammad, built-in John Allen Williams in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a National Guardsman and 15-year Army adept who served in the Gulf War and accomplished as a mechanic, barter disciplinarian and specialist metalworker.
He and his wife Mildred had three accouchement calm and endemic an auto adjustment shop. But afterwards Muhammad was accused of stalking a woman, he and Mildred separated. Again in 1999, Muhammad kidnapped his children, spending 18 months befitting them from their mother afore authorities amid them.
It was during this time that Muhammad met Malvo.
“Muhammad had taken him out of a men’s apartment and told him he was activity to be his ancestor amount and instead he started admonishment him and again he started sexually molesting him,” Jim said.
Having been sexually abused before, Malvo would afterwards detail how the corruption he endured at the easily of Muhammad alone served to added dispense him to abide loyal and obedient.
“I couldn’t say no,’’ Malvo told the Today appearance in 2012. “I had capital that akin of adulation and accepting and bendability for all of my life, and couldn’t acquisition it. And alike if unconsciously, or alike in moments of abbreviate reflection, I knew that it was wrong, I did not accept the discipline to say no.”
But his past, the Clementes said, had no address on the affliction he in about-face caused.
“The actuality that Malvo was sexually victimized does not alibi in any way the actuality that he alternate in murdering and abasing added people,” Jim said.
Muhammad and Malvo’s abomination bacchanalia began in February 2002. On Feb. 16, Keenya Cook, 21, was attempt and asleep by Malvo at the advanced aperture of her aunt’s home in Tacoma, Wash. Cook’s aunt, Isa Nichols, had advanced encouraged Muhammed’s ex-wife Mildred to seek a divorce.
Three deaths, including Parker’s in Montgomery, Alabama, and four injuries, followed in added states from March through July.
Jerry Taylor, 60, was attempt and asleep on an Arizona golf advance on March 19; John Gaeta, 51, was attempt and beggared while alteration a annoy in Louisiana on Aug. 1; Paul LaRuffa, 55, survived actuality attempt six times as he bankrupt his Italian restaurant in Maryland on Sept. 5; and on the aforementioned day Parker was murdered, 41-year-old Actor Woldemariam was allowance the buyer of Sammy’s Package Abundance abutting for the night aback she fatally attempt in the head.
The aftermost killing Muhammad and Malvo are accepted to accept agitated out advanced of the assassin shootings took abode on Sept. 23, aback Malvo attempt 45-year-old Hong Im Ballenger in the arch with a burglarize in Baton Rouge. The Korean immigrant and basic of her association was asleep instantly.
Hong’s bedmate afterwards said he knew the minute account bankrupt that the D.C. snipers had been arrested, that the actuality amenable for demography his wife’s activity had been caught.
“God put it on my affection and I knew,” Jim Ballenger told the Associated Press. “I’m aloof animated he is in bastille and can do no added harm.”
Malvo and Muhammad were arrested while sleeping in their dejected Chevrolet Caprice on Oct. 24, 2002.
“Pictures of both men and an alone that was at a barter stop … sees the car, sees the dejected Caprice, checks the authorization plate, it matches,” Tim said. “He sees the two guys sleeping central the car. So he notifies 911 appropriate away.”
A trucker at the stop anchored his barter in a way that would ensure the men could not get abroad while badge were hasty to the scene, and already there, appropriate units confused in quickly.
“Flash blast grenades through the window, smashing the windows, yanking them out in their slumber, out assimilate the parking lot, handcuffing them,” Tim said. “It’s over in seconds. And two of the best abhorrent killers in American history were on their way to amends at that point.”
For their crimes, Muhammad in September 2003 was bedevilled to death, while Malvo, a juvenile, was bedevilled in October of that year to six after activity sentences afterwards parole.
In November 2009, Muhammad was put to afterlife by baleful injection.
Malvo, now 34, is currently in bastille apprehension resentencing for assorted charges.
Now retired, the Clemente brothers in 2008 founded XG Productions, a assembly and aptitude administration aggregation meant “to entertain, acquaint and affect audiences through the creation, assembly and administration of accurate crime, law administration and military-related content.”
They afresh appear their Audible Original, “Call Me God: The Untold Adventure of the DC Sniper.”
“We appetite to accord the victims and their families an befalling … to acquaint the apple in their own words what they went through and how it afflicted them,” Jim said.
“When you can apprehend from husbands, wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters about what the accident meant to them,” Tim said, “It brings it home.”
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