1 • A NEW TERROR
On October 2nd, 2002 the first shots are fired. And no one sees anything.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome to Monster: DC Sniper, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the podcast author or individuals participating in the podcast and do not represent those of iHeartMedia, Tenderfoot TV or their employees. Listener discretion is advised.
Caroline N.: 00:23 It was quite a warm morning. I drove my son to school with some other children. I drop them off around 8:00, and my two year old was still in the car, so he was in a car seat. We were listening to children’s music in the car on the radio. I went to the gas station and I stopped to pump gas.
Caroline N.: 00:49 My name’s Caroline Namrow. I’m a pediatrician I live in Silver Spring in Maryland. It was a lovely day. It was very warm. So I opened the windows. As I rolled the windows down a bit, I turned and I looked to the right and there was a taxi and there was a gentleman who was filling his car with gas. But I thought it was unusual because he was filling the tank from underneath the license plate, which I had never seen before. I looked to him for a few seconds and he looked up at me and we made eye contact. I just see a smile. I reached to get my purse to take out my credit card and I heard a bang. And immediately my head, I thought that was a gunshot, but at the same time I thought, no. Why would there be a gunshot? It must be some sort of electrical problem maybe with the car and he was doing his thing weird and he shouldn’t have been filling it from under the license plate, how strange.
Caroline N.: 01:51 I looked up and he was walking towards my car. It was just a few paces and he looked in the passenger side and he said, “Call an ambulance.” And he collapsed and I was shaking. So I immediately grabbed my phone, got out of the car and called 911 and I was totally in shock.
Speaker 3: 02:13 Fire and ambulance.
Caroline N.: 02:18 A man has been killed in front of me. I don’t know.
Garrett Graff: 02:36 I don’t think America has ever gone back to the way that it was before 911 and the anthrax attacks and the DC Sniper. My name is Garrett Graff and I’m a journalist and historian. It’s really amazing looking back to the 1990’s today, really just how much simpler the issues on the table were.
Speaker 6: 02:57 Governments, utilities, and companies all over the world are checking their computer systems to prevent a Y2K meltdown.
Garrett Graff: 03:06 Much of the country was really consumed by the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998. Actually, President Clinton was criticized for trying to distract from his impeachment troubles by attacking the training camps of Al-Qaeda. These were threats that the US was not focused that much on as a country. The government, the national security apparatus was beginning to pay more attention to it.
Speaker 5: 03:32 We must remember it is the obligation of America to help make the world more peaceful as far as I’m concerned. It’s an obligation of a Commander-In-Chief as well to understand in order to keep the peace, we must rebuild the military power of the United States of America.
Garrett Graff: 03:49 The 2000 election at the time seemed incredibly vicious and partisan and ultimately it was a vote of the Supreme Court that declared effectively George W. Bush, the winner of Florida, and thus the winner of the presidency. In many ways, Americans were beginning to lose trust in institutions as they were hit by various scandals and then of course we didn’t know either what came next.
Speaker 8: 04:20 Apparently a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center here in New York City. It happened just a few moments ago apparently. We have very little information available.
Garrett Graff: 04:31 There weren’t very many people who defaulted that morning to thinking it was terrorism at first. And I think one of the most remarkable things that you see on the morning of 911 is just how innocent America truly was. President Bush continued with his morning reading to schoolchildren, Congress prepared to open for business site day after the first attacks and even in New York City, you saw people just continue their commute thinking that they were going on to a relatively normal day at work.
Speaker 9: 05:05 I heard a boom, looked up and there was a big ball of fire. You can hear the fire engines and the emergency crews behind me. I’ve never seen any fire like this in the air, and the pieces of the building were flying down. Intense smoke. It’s horrible. I can’t even describe it.
Garrett Graff: 05:20 As the morning of 911 unfolded, it quickly became clear that this was a terrorist attack on not just New York City, but the wider country.
Speaker 10: 05:29 This airplane that ran into the Pentagon, it happened within the hour, the plane sliced through the building. It came in and hit actually at about the first and second floors.
Garrett Graff: 05:40 We really didn’t know how wide the attack actually would go. Skyscrapers were evacuated in Boston, in Chicago and Los Angeles and other cities across the country as people feared that there could be more planes still in the sky. The fear was really that there would be a second wave of attacks. That sense of fear was certainly driven by the accelerating media culture as well.
Speaker 11: 06:08 There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan where they are trained in the tactics of terror.
Garrett Graff: 06:22 Unrelenting coverage contributed to this pervasive fear about whether we were safe living our daily lives. There was the expectation really that DC would be attacked again by Al-Qaeda, by a car bomb, by more planes. There was a real fear about whether this was the day that the next shoe dropped.
Tony Harris: 06:55 In the wake of 911, all of us living in the DC area were terrified and we were all just waiting for the next horrific act of terror. I’m Tony Harris. In the fall of 2002, I was working as a news anchor for Fox 45 in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. On the morning of October 3rd reports began flooding our newsroom about random shootings in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Speaker 13: 07:22 We do have five paddle shootings for no apparent reason, no robbery motive or anything like that. People who are just sort of out and about doing their normal tasks.
Speaker 14: 07:31 You know, you think you’re out here safe and here’s this woman coming out of this, apparently the post office then was just shot.
Tony Harris: 07:40 The people of Maryland look through their televisions to journalists like me for answers, but we didn’t have them.
Speaker 15: 07:47 It is quite a mystery. The police say they have never had a crime quite like this in Montgomery County before. They are huddling together. They are trying now to figure out what’s going on.
Tony Harris: 07:59 And that terrible day was only the beginning. What emerged over the following weeks was one of the most disturbing crime sprees in the history of our country. But now, 18 years later the Supreme Court will rule on the sniper’s case and that convicted killer could one day walk free. On this season of Monster, we’re going to investigate the full DC Sniper story because I want to find the answers to questions that have haunted me all these years. What was the killer’s motive? And should they ever be given a second chance? To fully understand, we have to go back to October 2nd, 2002. An average Wednesday in suburban Maryland.
Patrick M.: 08:52 October 2nd, 2002 was an unusually day for DC. I was working the evening shift. You handle the routine calls. There are several of us working. Everybody worked in a cubicle. Nothing special really going on. It was in the early evening the phone rang and we don’t have a secretary at night, so whoever picks up the phone, whatever’s on the other end of it, you get it.
Tony Harris: 09:18 This is Patrick [McNerney 00:00:09:19], a former homicide detective with Montgomery County Police in Maryland.
Patrick M.: 09:23 I was told by our communications center there had been a shooting murder or as we call it, an 0100 in the Wheaton-Glenmont district in the Shoppers Food Warehouse parking lot so we’re running lights and siren over to the scene and took about 15 minutes to get there. We’re presented with a very large crowd in front of the Shoppers Food Warehouse.
Tony Harris: 09:49 McNerney took charge of the crime scene. He locked the area down, began interviewing witnesses and tried to figure out what just happened.
Patrick M.: 09:59 This could have been a robbery or somebody walked up to this guy and shot him. Then we still had to deal with why did it sounded like a cannon going off? That was a report from the first officer who was actually sitting right across the street when the shooting took place.
Alan F.: 10:21 The sound I heard wasn’t really, to me, immediately recognizable as a gunshot. It was just this enormously loud percussion. I’m Alan [Felleston 00:10:30]. At the time I was working for the Montgomery County Police Department. I was a bicycle patrol officer assigned to the Wheaton district. The police station is directly across the street from the Shoppers Food Warehouse where we’re standing today, so that’s where I was then.
Tony Harris: 10:46 Felleston was the first officer on the scene. He heard the shot and responded immediately, but it was already too late. The killer got away. How could a shooter pull this off in broad daylight right next to a police station? I asked Felleston to meet me here and explain what he saw that day.
Tony Harris: 11:06 So you’re sitting there in your cruiser. At that point, describe what happens and what you hear.
Alan F.: 11:14 There’s a business right next door here called Country Boy that’s been here forever. They use forklifts and pallets. They sell mulch and garden supplies and I almost thought that one of their 18 wheelers had been knocked over or something. It was this enormously loud percussion, so I did not immediately go, “Wow, that sounds like a rifle.” It was just this really loud thunderclap kind of sound. So obviously it drew everyone’s attention. In the police station, people heard it inside as that’s only 100, 150 yards away. They came to the door and looked out.
Tony Harris: 11:47 It was that loud.
Alan F.: 11:48 Yes. Because I was directly across from the Shopper’s Food Warehouse, I think I already saw that the people in front of the store were looking straight at the parking lot from the store. I pulled out, flipped on the emergency lights on the car. It was probably less than a minute that it took me to drive there, but as soon as I pull in, I can see that there’s a man laying face down in the parking lot. So I pulled in and I just yelled at the people who are staying there. “Did anyone see anything?” And I just got kind of no reaction. Everyone was still just staring. I think I then yelled to them, “If you heard the shots stay here or if you saw anything, stay here,” and then drove my car up the aisle closer to where the victim was.
Alan F.: 12:34 So there’s a light pole here and the victim was on the pavement. He had blood on his chest and around his mouth. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. I didn’t expose the wound right away because he was in his chest. I saw the blood by his mouth and I just went straight into CPR. And by then other people showing up, because we are only about 100 yards from the police station. And everything kind of happens in a blur at that point. If I knew that night what we knew 36 hours later, I would have probably positioned my car better because I basically went right in the line of fire. They could have shot me and still gotten away. Again, at this point, we didn’t know it was rifle. That realization only came when I went in with one of the homicide detectives to the Shopper’s Food Warehouse and we reviewed their security footage.
Patrick M.: 13:31 There’s no audio on this surveillance, so we’re just watching the quiet play of it.
Tony Harris: 13:36 This is Patrick McNerney again, the Montgomery County homicide detective in charge of the crime scene. McNerney watched the victim’s last moments caught by the security camera.
Patrick M.: 13:47 Reviewing of the tape was he pulled into the parking lot in his truck, parked in a parking space, probably 20 spaces away from the store, gets out, walks, he takes five or six steps and then he goes down and we see there was nobody standing near him. All right, so now we have to train our thinking. It’s not a walkup and shoot, we’re looking at a long range shot. Let’s see if we can find a projectile, which is truly the needle in the haystack at this point with all the residual trash, loose pebbles, stuff like that in the parking lot. Now we’re even more concerned about cars riding through, stuff getting caught into the treads because we don’t want to miss anything.
Patrick M.: 14:29 Fire rescue had already come in and determined that this person was deceased on the scene. A lot of people didn’t see anything but two or three people who were right there, right kind of close to where this person was shot, they were just walking and they heard the cannon and they saw this guy drop. They just went to hide in their cars. They had no idea what was going on. They quickly detected it was a shooting, saw this guy go down and now they’re scared for their life.
Patrick M.: 14:59 My job is to stop time as much as possible. Let’s go back, step by step on what happened. Where did this guy come from? Did somebody follow him in here? Was he having any issues with anybody? Did anybody hear any arguing, car horns beeping? Any reason why this event would have taken place. We found out that the James Martin worked in downtown Silver Spring, nice enough guy. People at work liked them. He was very quiet. One son. He didn’t live too far from where the store was. I believe it was his first time going to that store and he was just going to pick up some stuff for dinner on his way home.
Ola M.: 15:40 Jim was a really hard worker. He worked all through high school at a general store and everyone loved him. He always believed in fairness. He always believed in things being done kindly and justly. That’s the kind of person he was. He was a wonderful brother. He was just a terrific uncle to my kids.
Tony Harris: 16:05 [Ola Martin Cooksley 00:16:08] is James Martin’s sister. She calls him Jim. The two of them grew up together in Missouri. They stayed close even after Jim moved to the DC area for work. It was late on October 2nd when she got word of Jim’s death.
Ola M.: 16:23 I was almost asleep that night. I had gone to bed and I was alone and I had just begun to drift off when the phone rang. It was my sister-in-law and she said that Jim is dead. I said, “Did he have a heart attack?” You know, because our dad had passed away with a heart attack and she said, “No, he’s been shot and nobody says they saw anything and nobody knows anything.” After she told me that and we hung up, I thought maybe I was still sleeping. I thought I was dreaming and I spent that entire night thinking that I must be dreaming. Even for the next few days I kind of felt like it was a nightmare and I kept wishing I would wake up. It just seemed too unbelievable.
Ola M.: 17:19 In a way it kind of kept it as a buffer because I didn’t just go completely bonkers the way I probably would have if I hadn’t thought it was a dream. I kept thinking I’m going to wake up, but I also had this weird strange feeling that something had gone horribly wrong in the universe because I had just always thought that Jim and I would be old people together. It just seemed so unbelievable and so wrong and it just felt like something had hit the world and knocked it out of line or something.
Tony Harris: 17:59 The death of James Martin seemed utterly random and investigators weren’t sure what to make of it until they learned there had been another similar shooting less than an hour earlier at a Michael’s craft store just miles up the road.
Patrick M.: 18:13 About 45 minutes prior to James Martin being shot, if you go North on Georgia Avenue, probably two or three miles, you get into an area, it’s called Aspen Hill. About half a block off Connecticut Avenue there’s a Michael’s craft store.
Speaker 20: 18:42 [inaudible 00:18:48].
Debbie: 18:47 Hi, this is Debbie [Case 00:00:18:48], the assistant manager at the Michaels at Aspen Hill. We just had somebody fire some sure of projectile through the window of the store.
Tony Harris: 18:58 Detective Patrick McNerney also took charge of this scene.
Patrick M.: 19:01 It was the people in the store who actually made the call because they could tell it was a bullet that came through the window. You’re sitting there and you’re just proceeding normally then all of a sudden bam.
Debbie: 19:12 There is a hole to a plate glass window. There was a loud popping sound and whatever came through the window also went through a light here and fortunately no one was struck.
Patrick M.: 19:24 The shot rode high and when it entered the glass in front of the Michaels, it hit one of those lane markers, that says lane one, two, three. It hit one of those and kind of disintegrated and later was found in a pocket on a shelf behind that.
Speaker 20: 19:41 It was only one shot?
Debbie: 19:51 So far yes.
Tony Harris: 19:52 This is the Michael’s arts and crafts store and this is the location of the first rifle shot. They take off, they drive away, they head up the road two miles at the most. And that’s when the story takes the horrible and gruesome turn.
Tony Harris: 20:09 I’ve got to tell you, this is the most average strip mall in America, and I visited 1000 of them growing up in Maryland. That’s what this place looks like. Nondescript suburbia. That’s what this is. So this is the kind of community where that would have been big news. The fact that someone fired a rifle shot through the window of a Michael’s, that would have been huge news. And one of the news rooms in either Baltimore or Washington would have been asking questions. Is there a connection? Come on. They are less than two miles apart. You’ve a fatality? There’s got to be a connection.
Patrick M.: 20:51 You could really almost assume that they’re connected. And ultimately they were.
Tony Harris: 20:56 McNerney went back to take another look at the Shoppers Food Warehouse shooting from earlier.
Patrick M.: 21:02 We all kind of agreed, this looks like a sniper. There’s a long shot. Nobody saw him, you heard it. But initially there’s no reason why somebody would want to shoot this guy or want to shoot the other people we talked to in the parking lot who were right there in that scope range. Why didn’t he shoot them and why him and not her and who knows? Our forensic team was there. I think our division captain had even come by. He usually only came out and something that was really kind of odd.
Bernard F.: 21:36 My name is Bernard James Forsyth. At the time of this event, I was the Director of the Major Crimes Division of the Montgomery County Police Department and my rank was Captain. Now this is 6:00 in the afternoon, one of the busiest intersections of Montgomery County. It’s somewhat unusual that you would have a shooting and nobody has seen anything. I called Chief [Moose 00:00:22:01], which is part of our protocol to let him know that we had had a shooting down there.
Tony Harris: 22:06 Charles Moose was the Chief of Police for Montgomery County. The two shootings so far fell under his jurisdiction.
Bernard F.: 22:13 He asked me, he said, “Well, what do you think it is?” I said, “Chief, at this point, we just don’t really know.” We just didn’t know what had occurred. Probably the worst case scenario was a random shooting with no motive. It’s very hard to connect randomness. That’s what it amounts to.
Tony Harris: 22:36 And with that, the bizarre events of Wednesday, October 2nd came to an end. But this was just the beginning. The following day on October 3rd…
Bernard F.: 22:51 I think it’s fair to say all hell broke loose.
Speaker 23: 22:57 Montgomery County.
Speaker 24: 22:57 Yes. We’re going to need police and ambulance.
Speaker 23: 23:00 Okay. What’s the problem?
Speaker 24: 23:01 Somebody’s been shot down on our back lot.
Speaker 23: 23:03 Are they-
Speaker 24: 23:04 Somebody’s down on the ground.
Speaker 23: 23:06 Okay. Did you see the person get-
Speaker 24: 23:08 No, I was up on top of the hill and somebody yelled up to call an ambulance.
Speaker 23: 23:11 Okay. Were they just shot do you know?
Speaker 24: 23:14 Yeah, we just heard the shot.
Bernard F.: 23:15 I had just briefed the chief as to what we were doing with regard to the shooting at the Shoppers Food Warehouse the night before when these incidents started percolating into the office.
Speaker 24: 23:28 Yeah, I’m coming down right now.
Speaker 23: 23:29 Okay.
Speaker 24: 23:32 Yeah, he’s down on the ground. We got a crowd of people down here.
Speaker 23: 23:36 Okay. Can you ask if anybody saw-
Speaker 24: 23:38 [crosstalk 00:23:38] that gun shot?
Bernard F.: 23:40 One of them had to do with a lawn mower and they were telling me that somebody was injured, but they weren’t sure. They thought maybe a blade had flown off.
Speaker 24: 23:51 Oh, a lawn mower blew up on this guy. He’s bleeding real bad.
Speaker 23: 23:55 Okay. And is he breathing?
Speaker 24: 23:58 Yeah, barely. He’s spitting up blood and everything.
Gary Lee Huss: 24:02 It was a very tense time and in a very life changing experience to feel that you walked away from something that possibly you shouldn’t have. My name is [Gary Lee Huss 00:00:24:14], 57 years old. I live in Damascus, Maryland.
Tony Harris: 24:19 Huss was working at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Rockville, Maryland. The first victim of October 3rd was shot just outside this dealership.
Gary Lee Huss: 24:28 It’s approximately, I want to say right around 7:30. Normal day driving to work. And I saw my friend Sonny Buchanan, he maintained the landscaping for our dealership group at that location and I saw Sonny Buchanan with the lawnmower right on the curb. So I stopped my car and we spoke for a few minutes just in general conversation and I’ve proceeded back to my car, shut the door and started to pull away is when I heard a loud bang.
Gary Lee Huss: 25:12 And I just thought it was a backfire from a car. I never even imagined that it could be anything else. Went ahead and parked my car and went in and started my day. As I sat at my desk, my staff members arrive into my office about a man bleeding on the back lot. And finally went out to view because it was quite a crowd gathering from all of our employees at the dealership. At that point I was corralling my people back, not ever noticing it was my friend. I didn’t even relate the two together as I just saw him 15 minutes prior standing upright speaking with me.
Gary Lee Huss: 26:00 We eventually figured it was Sonny laying there on the ground and he was bleeding pretty profusely. He actually walked about 50 yards before he collapsed. Quite a big distance uphill for the damage that was done to him that day. I assume that the lawnmower disengaged and impaled him in some way. I went down to inspect the lawn mower to find the bag completely intact, the mower deck completely intact, and then flipping the mower over, the blades were all intact, so that ruled out that there was any cause from the lawn mower.
Gary Lee Huss: 26:39 The paramedics confirm that it was a gunshot wound. We watched the paramedics try and revive Sonny and pretty much bled out on location that day. We had somebody in the police department that was a associate and friend of ours telling us a little bit of information that there’s a gunman out there and it seemed like every hour there was another shooting. I assume that it was a single gunman, but there was no method to the madness of what he was doing and who he was targeting at that point. Was I the target and he missed and now I’m going to be the one that he’s looking at? It changed my life that day. The two places you feel the safest are at home and at work and one of those areas had been taken from me.
Tony Harris: 27:32 James Sonny Buchanan, the first victim on October 3rd died of his wound. Montgomery County Police were as baffled by this shooting as they had been the evening before, but they wouldn’t have much time to think about it. Half an hour later, another victim would be shot. At 8:12 AM, only 32 minutes after Sonny Buchanan was shot, police learned of another shooting.
Speaker 26: 28:17 Ma’am.
Caroline N.: 28:23 Oh my God.
Speaker 26: 28:23 Ma’am, listen to me. What is wrong?
Caroline N.: 28:25 A man has been killed in front of me. I don’t know.
Tony Harris: 28:31 That was Caroline Nemrow from the very beginning of the episode. After pulling into a gas station, she heard a loud gunshot. Prem Kumar Walekar then collapsed in front of her. She immediately called 911.
Speaker 26: 28:46 Fire and ambulance.
Caroline N.: 28:47 As I was speaking to the 911 people, I saw this police car and I waved over to him and I went over to the taxi driver, Mr. Walekar. He was taking a few breaths. He was not verbal at that point. The last thing he said was when he looked through the window and he said, “Call an ambulance,” and then he collapsed. I felt such panic as a physician because I felt helpless. I had no equipment, no monitor to put the person on, no oxygen, no suction. I’m used to having everything to hand. What focused me was I spoke to myself in my head. “You can do this, you know CPR, you’re a doctor.” I dropped to the floor and tried to check for a pulse and then the police man appeared and I said, “I’ll do the mouth to mouth part, you do the chest compressions.”
Caroline N.: 29:35 I started CPR and the policeman did assist me. I remember my hands were shaking as I was doing this. There was a lot of blood and I realized that he was stopping breathing. I couldn’t feel a good pulse. I think I felt for a second or two very, very thready thin, uneven pulse and then it went away. Unfortunately he vomited. By that point two ambulance appeared and they parked on Connecticut Avenue and I remember saying to the policeman, “Why are they not coming? I need to suction the airway. You can’t do mouth to mouth if the airway’s blocked.” So I didn’t understand why were they not getting out.
Caroline N.: 30:23 Then the ambulance people did come out of the trucks and they did come towards us. It was all a matter of minutes. Of course at the time it felt extremely prolonged for everybody to arrive, but I don’t think it was. Then the ambulance people tried to intubate at the scene and put Mr Walekar on a gurney. And then I just remember a lot of police presence and everything happened very fast after that. And my husband had arrived and he’d been allowed to take my son, my two year old away.
Caroline N.: 30:53 So I was very disturbed the whole day. It’s horrific that somebody could murder somebody. It’s just awful. What a waste. And I was there. You start to question, well, why was it him and not me? Normally I park the car and I immediately get out of the car, but that day I paused for a few seconds because he was filling his gas tank from where the license plate was and that had slowed me down and that’s why I didn’t get out of the car. So that few seconds of delay made a difference to my life. I was the slightly blurrier object behind my windshield. The clearer shot was to the guy that was out of the car. But if I hadn’t been nosy and looked over at him, wow, what’s he doing filling the car? That’s really weird. Why is this gas tank there? I would have got out and maybe it would’ve been a better shot to me. So that, but for the grace of God, go I. That’s a very shocking thought to be faced with your own mortality.
Tony Harris: 32:02 Montgomery County Police were starting to realize they had something big on their hands. At this gas station where Prem Kumar Walekar was shot, law enforcement held the first of many press conferences.
Charles Moose: 32:15 We are presently making all of the notifications to the immediate family members. Our investigators are making that personal contact to all of those individuals.
Tony Harris: 32:26 This is Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. Since these shootings took place in his jurisdiction, Chief Moose was in charge of the investigation.
Charles Moose: 32:35 We have a number of different resources that have been deployed. Clearly we have a number of police officers on the street in uniform, in plain clothes. There are numerous traffic stops, numerous arrests occurring throughout the County. We’re also putting together the last technical pieces of a hotline. We anticipate in the next couple of hours coming back to you with that number, would ask you as the media to please be very diligent in helping us get that number out and I would anticipate at that same time that we will connect that hotline to a reward.
Charles Moose: 33:12 The FBI, ATF, US Marshals and the Secret Service are all involved in this investigation bringing resources to the table, bringing investigators, bringing experience to this situation that is very bizarre to all of us.
Garrett Graff: 33:32 The fear of these attacks, the fear spawned by these attacks really rippled across the Capital region and up and down the East coast. Whether you were an ordinary office worker, a school child or a law enforcement official.
Tony Harris: 33:47 This is journalist and historian Garrett Graff.
Garrett Graff: 33:50 In some ways, the fear was truly crippling at the time because what you had was we had been told for a year, since 911 that more attacks were coming. We didn’t know when, we didn’t know what form they were going to take, we didn’t know how long the attacks would go on. Federal law enforcement and the intelligence agencies had been already operating at a crushing tempo in the wake of 911 and then along comes the DC Sniper, and all of the country’s worst fears are realized.
Garrett Graff: 34:25 The idea that these were ongoing attacks with very little information carried out for no discernible purpose, this was in some ways the worst case scenario for what we had all feared was coming after 911. As the sniper attacks continued and spread, this was something that just altered the fabric of life in the Capitol. It was scary to be outside. It was scary to be on your daily commute. It was scary to go to the grocery store or fill up your car with gas. And then as the DC sniper case unfolded, that terror only grew.
Bernard F.: 35:10 Even at my station in Baltimore, the paranoia and confusion was everywhere. No one knew when or where the snipers would strike next. It was a terrible feeling. One that stuck with us for weeks, and it’s a feeling I’ll never forget. Just when you thought it might be over, news would come in about another shooting.
Tony Harris: 35:30 After law enforcement held their first press conference that day on October 3rd, the attacks continued. Just 25 minutes after Prem Kumar Walekar was killed at a mobile gas station, another unsuspecting victim was shot only two miles away.
Speaker 28: 35:47 We do see that there is a bullet hole just above the bench on the large window there. The woman, as we understand was shot in the face apparently as she was just sitting there.
Speaker 29: 36:00 There is a ruthless person on the loose.
Speaker 30: 36:03 What unnerves this community the most is the randomness of the murders, ordinary people doing ordinary things.
Speaker 31: 36:09 All that the victims appear to have had in common, each was shot to death by a single bullet.
Patrick M.: 36:14 Be careful. These guys are using weapons that are going to go right straight through our bulletproof vest.
Speaker 32: 36:19 The massive man not continues, but police admit they don’t know who or what they’re dealing with or what their motive might be.
Tony Harris: 36:29 From iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. This is Monster: DC Sniper.
Tony Harris: 36:43 This season on Monster: DC Sniper…
Speaker 33: 36:46 Police have had little to go on. Only one witness’s description of two people in a white truck speeding away from one murder scene.
Patrick M.: 36:54 And he described the vehicle and he said the guy was leaning out on the driver’s side mirror. That was the first lead where someone had actually seen somebody.
Speaker 34: 37:04 More about that calling card. It was left at the scene of the most recent shooting. It was a card from a fortune telling deck that’s known as the death card with a note written on it. Dear policeman, I am God.
Patrick M.: 37:17 But they find out soon that the information they got was bad.
Speaker 35: 37:21 FBI in Washington DC did a more thorough search-
Charles Moose: 37:25 And that’s when we got a hit on a fingerprint.
Bernard F.: 37:28 We just heard it on the local am radio station, the snipers are in the rest area in Myersville. send everybody you got.
Speaker 36: 37:35 If you understood the case, it was basically just two outcomes, death or life. That was it.
Speaker 37: 37:41 His sentencing is not constitutionally acceptable. He has to be sentenced in a way that gives a jury the option to go lower than that.
Garrett Graff: 37:51 He was a psychopathic, cold blooded killer that can never walk the street again.
Patrick M.: 37:56 I do believe he was brainwashed for lack of a better term. I get the feeling he agrees he has to pay a price, but I don’t know if he thinks he’s already paid it or not. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’d like to ask him.
Speaker 1: 38:16 Monster: DC Sniper is a 15 episode podcast hosted by Tony Harris and produced by iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio. Alongside producers, Trevor Young, Ben Kuebrich, and Josh Thane. Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot TV, alongside producers, Meredith Stedman and Christina Dana. Original music is by Makeup and Vanity Set. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the first two seasons, Atlanta Monster and Monster, The Zodiac Killer. If you have questions or comments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 1-(833)-285-6667. Thanks for listening.