Little Bits of History

Terror Along the Beltway

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 24, 2011

John Allen Muhammad mug shot

October 24, 2002: Two men are arrested at a Maryland rest stop after police receive tips from a trucker and a second motorist who spot a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice parked there. The killing spree began when Paul LaRuffia was killed as he locked up his pizzeria on September 5 and Claudia Parker was killed during a liquor store robbery on September 21. Then the patterns of the killings changed.

On October 2 at 5:20 PM a shot was fired through a window without causing injury; at 6:05 the first victim of a mysterious sniper fell. The next day, five more were killed as they went about their normal daily routines. Within the next weeks, four more people were killed and three were critically wounded. One of the victims was an FBI agent who was coming out of a Home Depot store. All the killings took place between Baltimore and Washington, DC along Interstate 95, an area known as the Beltway.

The killings were initially thought to be the work of a lone sniper. When captured John Allen Mohammed, 41, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, were found to be working together. The investigation was headed by Police Chief Charles A. Moose with help from the FBI. Tarot cards were left at some of the earlier killings. Later, long handwritten notes were left. After learning that the car used by the snipers was a dark Chevrolet, that information was broadcast and terrorized citizens were on the lookout.

Both men were found guilty of the Beltway murders. Malvo, a minor at the time of the killings, has been given life imprisonment without parole. He has since confessed to several other murders across the US and given an additional six life sentences. Mohammed was found guilty and given the death penalty. Mohammed claimed to have modeled himself after Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11. Fortunately his three tiered plan of attack never got past the first phase.

“Muhammad, with his sniper team partner, Malvo, randomly selected innocent victims. With calculation, extensive planning, premeditation and ruthless disregard for life, Muhammad carried out his cruel scheme of terror.” – Virginia Supreme Court Justice Donald Lemons

“I haven’t gone jogging, haven’t gone shopping and I almost run from my car to the apartment. Last weekend was the first time that I’ve seen my apartment complex’s parking lot full. No one is leaving their homes.” – Joe, from Maryland

“The greatest crimes are to associate another with God, to vex your father and mother, to murder your own species, to commit suicide, and to swear to lie.” – Muhammad

“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” – Andre Gide

Also on this day:
Nedelin Catastrophe – In 1960, a Soviet Union ICBM exploded on the launchpad.
Notre Dame – In 1260, the cathedral was dedicated.

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One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on October 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Not random-they were choosing victims from a pre-determined plan of action that was meant to terrorize different parts of society one at a time. For example- a white man,a shop keeper, a woman………


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