Terror on the D.C. Beltway

Aug 22, 2011 - by Mark Pulham

Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad

Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad

During a three-week reign of terror in October of 2002, the D.C. snipers gunned down 13 innocent people at random around the Washington, D.C. Beltway. Only three survived.

by Mark Pulham

Montgomery County, Maryland, is just north of Washington, D.C., one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and an ideal place to live. With an average homicide rate in the county of only 25 per year, Montgomery County was safe, and not the sort of place where a drive-by shooting would occur. Yet, in October, 2002, that was about to change.

It had been barely a year since the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, and those who lived in and around Washington, D.C. were still nervous about future terrorist action.

On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, around 5:20 p.m., someone took a shot at a Michael’s Craft store in Aspen Hill, Maryland. The rifle bullet drilled a hole through the window, leaving minimal damage, but no one was hurt.

Just over an hour later, another shooting occurred, this time at the Glenmont Shopping Center at the junction of Randolph Road and Georgia Avenue. James Martin, a 55-year-old programs analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was doing some grocery shopping at the Shoppers Food Warehouse, buying food for his church’s youth group, before he headed home to his wife and 11-year- old son.

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