11 • THE TAKEDOWN
On October 24th, 2002, authorities confront the D.C. Snipers. And the nation is shocked by what police find.
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.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 00:21 By the evening of the 23rd, by about 9:30, 10:00 at night, we knew who we were looking for. We knew what they were in. We knew these people were going to continue to kill people until they were stopped. We just didn’t know where to find them.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 00:41 I guess it was probably 11:30 that night. I’m going home to Frederick 00:00:44. As I approached Frederick County I switched over to Frederick Barrack channel and I called the barrack as I’m required. The duty sergeant, Sergeant Hundertmark comes on and says, “Copy that, 662. Can you go to secure channel one?” And I knew something was up.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 01:01 I switched over to channel one and I got on the radio and Sarge says, “Just got a phone call.” Five minutes after that radio station there in Frederick broadcasted that’s who we were looking for a citizen spotted them parked in that rest area in Myersville. I told Sergeant Hundertmark, “Send everybody you got.” And he said, “Well, counting you, sir, that’s three because they’re all in Montgomery County.” “Well, saddle up, boys.” Our old adage, “One riot, one trooper. Let’s go.”
Speaker 3: 01:36 There is a ruthless person on the loose.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 01:39 What unnerves this community the most is the randomness of the murders. Ordinary people doing ordinary things.
Speaker 5: 01:46 They’d killed the five people in one day, and then went on the rampage for the next mark.
Speaker 6: 01:52 It is quite a mystery. The police say they have never had a crime quite like this.
Speaker 7: 01:56 Be careful. These guys are using weapons that are going to go right straight through our bulletproof vests.
Speaker 8: 02:01 There was a white van just went by with two guys in it.
Speaker 1: 02:04 From iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV, this is Monster: DC Sniper.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 02:13 I wasn’t anticipating this ending well. Once they realized they were cornered I knew we were in for a shootout. I just knew it.
Speaker 9: 02:22 It was the night of October 23rd. Maryland State Police Lieutenant David Reichenbaugh was on his way home when he learned that the sniper’s car had been spotted. Just minutes after a radio station broadcast the details about the blue Caprice a witness saw it parked in a rest area 45 miles away up in the mountains of Northwest Maryland.
Speaker 9: 02:43 I drove out to the scene with Reichenbaugh so he could explain to me exactly what happened that night.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 02:49 When Sergeant Hundertmark told me that the sniper car had been spotted in the rest area I said, “Are you sure?” And he said, “It’s confirmed as best as we can confirm it. The caller who I’m on the line with said they heard it on the radio that the police were looking for this vehicle.” And Sergeant Hundertmark says, “What are your orders, sir?” And I said, “My orders are notify the joint operations center of the sighting. Let them know that I am en route and will establish a perimeter.”
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 03:21 I had that police car flat out at 115 miles an hour, as fast as that poor thing would go.
Speaker 9: 03:30 So Dave, we’re 10 miles out from Frederick.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 03:32 Yep.
Speaker 9: 03:33 What’s happening in your head?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 03:35 What’s going through my head is how are we going to deal with this. The training kicks in. I ask Sergeant Hundertmark, “Who do I have going?” He tells me, “You’ve worked with these guys in narcotics.” We were all narcs together. So I knew they had the same SWAT team basic training that I had. My goal was twofold. 1) Get up here. Let’s secure this scene. The other thing going through my mind is, “If we can get there and in position before they leave that rest area, no matter what, they’re not getting out. They’re not going to get past us.”
Speaker 9: 04:07 Meaning?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 04:09 If we have to use lethal force to stop them, if we have to crash a police car into that Caprice, we’re going to do what we need to do. They are not getting out of that rest area. I mean I’m flying. I’ve got the center of the car right on the dotted line. I’m straddling both lanes as fast as I can go.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 04:32 The next thing that’s going through my mind is, “If I were these bad guys what would I do?” And my thought process was one would be sleeping in the car, the other one would be in the woods with that rifle, what professionally we would call on over watch. We had handguns and a shotgun. We were outgunned. I had contemplated, “Hey, just the three of us, let’s go bum rush him.” But if we did that and the scenario that I was thinking about came true then we were dead. He’s going to be able to kill all of us before we even figure out where the shot’s coming from. So that was last resort.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 05:13 The next thought process was, “Let’s see if we can somehow get any other civilians out of that rest area and seal that rest area in.” I’m worried about the potential for a hostage barricade situation. I’m worried about a high-speed pursuit. I’m worried about them carjacking an 18-wheeler and now we’ve got them basically driving a tank, which they’re going to run over any police car we’ve got.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 05:39 I mean you’ve killed people. You’ve wounded four more. You’re the most wanted two people probably in the world. Why not go out in a blaze of glory?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 05:50 At the bottom of this hill, right before we get off the exit, you’re exactly one mile from the rest area. The rest area’s right on top of that mountain.
Speaker 9: 06:01 Are you in touch with your other guys on the radio at this point?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 06:04 At this point, yeah, they’re hearing me. TFC Draskovich, Paschal, and the K-9 guy were just announcing that they were arriving. And I also had ordered silent running too. No lights, no sirens, nothing.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 06:18 And right at the beginning of this rest area, just pull over on the right shoulder here, that’s where we met. It was myself, TFC Draskovich, TFC Paschal, and Rich [Poffenberger 00:06:35], the K-9 trooper out of Hagerstown. I was patched in with our witness and I asked them, “Do you see anything?” “Nope. Everything’s quiet.” “Do you see us?” “No.” “Do you hear us?” “No.”
Speaker 9: 06:50 Whitney Donahue, the witness who had first reported the Caprice, agreed to stay on his cellphone at the rest stop. 911 dispatchers patched Donahue’s cellphone through to Reichenbaugh so the two could talk. Reichenbaugh figured that if his witness hadn’t seen the police cars pull up, then neither had the snipers.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 07:09 So at that point I tell TFC Draskovich and Paschal, “Block this entry.” So they pulled their cars sort of in a V right about where the rest area sign is. My K-9 guy, I said, “I want you to go in the middle between the entrance and the exit. Get the dog out. Keep him quiet. Anybody that comes out of this rest area on foot, assume they are the sniper and turn the dog loose.” Keep in mind, they had us outgunned. We had handguns and a shotgun. They had that Bushmaster.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 07:45 And I told him, “I’m going to the exit and I will set up my command post there.” And then eventually I got another trooper out of Hagerstown, and him and I blocked the exit. So that’s how we stood for the first 20 minutes. The next incoming troopers, we had them block the interstates, both directions. I wanted everybody off the mountain.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 08:08 From what we could tell we might have had a dozen trucks parked in the truck lot. As luck would have it, we had a couple of truck drivers start to come out, to leave. We stopped them, searched their rigs and I asked them if they wanted to be good Americans. And it was like, “Well yeah, Troop. What do you need?” I said, “Well, we got the snipers in the rest area.” And it was, “Holy shit. You’re kidding me, right?” I said, “No.” He says, “Them bastards are in there? I just took a piss.” And I said, “Can you throw your truck across this exit so that that car cannot get out of here?” “Yes, sir. Be my honor.”
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 08:48 Now I’m on the phone with my witnesses and I’m on the phone with the joint operations center because, as you can imagine, they were losing their collective minds.
Speaker 9: 08:58 After weeks of working overtime and dozens of dead end leads, police were tantalizingly close to an arrest. But tensions were rising.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 09:09 We started getting orders from the joint operations center. “Have you done this? Have you done that?” I understand their concerns. These are special agents in charge. Their jobs are on the line. They don’t know me. They don’t know my training. They want to take charge. That’s why they’re special agents in charge in the FBI. I understand that. The problem is they were in Montgomery County. I’m here. I know this rest area. I know my troopers. They don’t. So it got a little bit intense.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 09:46 Then the next thing that happens is Trooper Smith and I are on that end. And of course our attention is towards the interior of the rest area. And all of a sudden I hear D. Wayne Smith yell, “Gun, gun, gun.” And I turn, out of the corner of my I see a man coming with a rifle. He’s got his hat on backwards. He’s wearing shorts. And as I happened to look, as I start to train my weapon on him, I see DEA about this big. And I realize, “Oh my God. We’re going to have a friendly fire situation here.” And that’s when I ordered, “If you’re not in uniform, get off the mountain.” Then the pushback started.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 10:35 “My agents can be up there. They’ve been told to be up there.” And I said, “You do not understand, sir. It is dark. We’re going to get one of them killed. And when that happens, if the snipers are in that car, we’re in a firefight because we’re going to wake them up. Right now I’ve got the advantage of surprise. I want to keep it.” And at one point the U.S. Marshal came on and basically put me in charge. The U.S. Marshal’s office trumps everybody. So we eased that situation.
Speaker 9: 11:09 As police shut down the highways and a swarm of officers assembled for the take down, law enforcement worried that the media might blow their cover.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 11:18 The other immediate concern was, “All right, it’s on the radio. The media’s listening to police communications. They know there’s an army of federal, state, and local law enforcement heading to Myersville.”
Speaker 10: 11:32 Apparently there is a lot of, what they describe as, police activity. A lot of officers responding to where this car was spotted. We are on the access road at Exit 42 on Interstate 70. They have the entire highway north of this exit blocked off with Sheriff’s deputies and Maryland State Troopers.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 11:56 And then it dawns on me. “What happens if Channel 123, ABC flies over with their helicopter? Ah, that’s going to blow what element of surprise I had.” Made a phone call to a friend of mine, U.S. Secret Service and I ask him if there was a way we could have airspace secured above us. And he called me back in less than 30 seconds by order of the “Presidential Authority Secret Service Frederick County’s airspace is secured.”
Speaker 10: 12:23 We did have one of our affiliate’s helicopters here. But apparently the police were not happy to see that news helicopter in the area and they have ordered it to fly away from the immediate scene to not compromise their investigation.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 12:38 Then it was just a matter of time of waiting.
Speaker 9: 12:56 As Reichenbaugh guarded the rest stop’s exit, Montgomery County Police Captain, Drew Tracy met with a team of SWAT officers that they named, the Tango Team. At the bottom of the wooded hill behind the rest stop, the Tango SWAT Team worked out a plan to capture the snipers.
Drew Tracy: 13:12 They had surprise for 21 days. Now we had surprise. And we had kind of a burning desire inside of us to put this to an end. We had to. At the rest stop there was about 75 parking spaces, there was bathrooms. The vehicle was backed in and because of the tinted windows we could not see inside the blue Caprice. We weren’t even sure they were in there. We figured they may not be in there, but we still needed an assault plan.
Drew Tracy: 13:43 And I remember being in a wood line. I’m saying, “Okay, what’s our plan if they go mobile?” And then I looked at these guys who I know, who I respect, they’re highly trained, and I said to myself, “Drew, shut up. They got it. And I just backed off.”
Speaker 9: 13:59 Police scan the hill behind the rest stop with night vision and infrared sensors. They wanted to make sure that Malvo and Muhammad weren’t hiding somewhere in the trees.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 14:09 There was an aircraft that flew over the rest area. It was some sort of a helicopter. And to this day I do not know what kind of aircraft that was, but it made no sound. Not one sound. It was not civilian. It was not law enforcement. The only thing I can tell you is I felt it more than heard it. And I looked up and the leaves were rustling. And I thought, “There’s no wind. What the hell is that?” And then this shadow went sideways real slowly over my head towards the interior of the rest area. And then it dawned on me, “That is a military aircraft.” And I knew who was in it. And, you know, to this day, God bless him. He will not tell me what kind of aircraft. He says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Dave.”
Speaker 9: 15:04 The woods looked clear so the Tango SWAT team assembled at the base of the hill. It was now 3;30 a.m., hours after the snipers’ car had been spotted. The Tango SWAT team made its final preparations before they climbed up through the woods to assault the snipers’ car from the rear.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 15:22 The decision on the take down was to go with six individuals, one from Maryland State Police, one from Montgomery County, and four FBI hostage rescue team. We had a game plan. We had two designated shooters. We had breachers to breach the windows. And we had hands-on people. And we practiced real quick in a wood line. And then the decision was made, you know, everybody stood in line. Thumbs up, thumbs up. Grab shoulder, grab shoulder. Go. No comments. No nothing.
Speaker 9: 15:53 After four hours of anxious waiting, suddenly everything went into high gear. Reichenbaugh was given a heads up just before the Tango SWAT team entered the rest area.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 16:03 I got the message, “Tango Team 30 seconds out.” D. Wayne and I came down to get between the bad guys and our civilians. The Tango Team is fully armed. They’ve got ballistic vests, helmets, night vision, they had at least two MP-5s. They come out of the woods slightly stooped, weapons up. Fully intent on their target. As they get close to the car, the night vision goggles come up, they split into two groups, three down the driver’s side, three down the passenger’s side. And even though they’re three guys in a line, they’re moving as one.
Drew Tracy: 16:42 I’m in the wood line. I’m listening. I’m praying that there’s not shots fired. My heart’s running a mile a minute and I hear the breaking of windows
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 16:52 The Tango Team took out the passenger rear window, driver’s front window with a spring loaded baton. And out of the vehicle they came.
Drew Tracy: 17:02 I hear, “Police. Police. Get on the ground.” You know, I’m listening. I’m listening. And then I hear the word, “Clear.” And I start walking from the wood line and I see two things right away. I see like a glistening of like light. And when I looked down, the glistening was Malvo. Malvo was on the ground, face down, handcuffed. And what happened is when they breached the tempered windows the glass got in his hair and it hit the light. And he didn’t say one word.
Drew Tracy: 17:42 And I looked down, I looked right at him. And he was sweating. He was sweating pretty good for that cold night. And then I hear jabbering and it was John Muhammad. He was just jabbering away. It didn’t have a lot of meaning to me. It was just kind of big talk. And he was on the ground and he was searched. I was right there when they opened his wallet and there was several pieces of false identification in different names. I remember looking at it and going, “Oh boy.”
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 18:12 Muhammad did not impress me one little bit. You could see the fear in his face. Now Lee Malvo, the young one, different story. I’ve arrested a lot of people, but this is one of those people that you just know looking at them, “This guy isn’t done killing if he gets the chance.” He’s cuffed. He’s sitting cross-legged with Trooper Draskovich standing right behind him, probably the largest State Trooper in Maryland. Anybody else in their right mind should’ve been in complete fear. Not this kid. This kid just looked at me with that dead shark eye look, “Pal, I’d kill you and everybody here if I had the chance.” They were put in cars and with a helicopter escort down the road they went.
Drew Tracy: 19:03 From that point we did a quick clear of the Caprice to make sure there was no explosives or anything else to be en bombed. And then we pulled back. Investigators took over. And that’s when they went to get the warrants.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 19:15 I stayed on the scene. Secured the scene. Search warrant was obtained. All the lab guys get up there and there’s still that little bit of doubt in the back of your mind until they pulled that damned sniper rifle out of the back seat of that car.
Speaker 9: 19:31 Hidden in a secret compartment behind one of the car’s back seats police found a rifle, a bipod, and a scope.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 19:39 And I’ll never forget as long as I live the noise of when the lab guy cocked that round out of that rifle, and seeing it spinning around in a circle in the air, and the tinkle that it made when it hit the parking lot.
Speaker 12: 19:59 No formal charges yet in the sniper case, but from authorities, no doubt that they’ve got their man. Inside the car the two suspects were sound asleep and authorities, who feared a violent confrontation, instead made a textbook peaceful arrest.
Speaker 13: 20:15 We feel very positive about being here. We have the weapon. It is off the street.
Speaker 14: 20:21 Tell us what you think that you would most-
Speaker 15: 20:25 [inaudible 00:20:25]. He’s awesome. He’s such a nice guy.
Speaker 16: 20:25 [crosstalk 00:20:25] so happy.
Speaker 15: 20:27 He hasn’t smiled in so long because he’s been so frustrated and now-
Speaker 16: 20:30 It’s all, now he’s happy.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 20:32 As police officers, when the news finally broke that the two snipers were in custody and all the officers involved were safe, it was a tremendous relief. It wasn’t a celebration. There was no high-fiving going around or anything like that. It was just, “It’s over.”
Speaker 17: 20:47 I was happy that it was over, but it was even happier watching my mom and my elderly neighbor go to the store for the first time because she was so scared to go anywhere. That was my biggest relief was actually seeing my mom be able to live her life again.
Speaker 18: 21:00 To have that satisfaction, to know that our evidence from Alabama was used to stop somebody from doing what they were doing, it felt just awesome to bring justice to the victims so they know what happened. It’s not comforting to them. It’s just a sense of closure.
Speaker 19: 21:16 I feel good because people were not in danger anymore. But, you know, I was dealing with my thing. My daughter still miss her mom. I was just so mad.
Speaker 20: 21:30 I was at work and someone came and told me, “Your brother’s killers have been caught.” And it just took a while for it all to sink in. I immediately started getting phone calls from people wanting to do interviews and things. I was just amazed that it wasn’t terrorists.
Speaker 21: 21:50 My gut that this was international terrorism was wrong. But we’re still trying to figure out, “Hey, you’ve got two guys. You got an older guy and you got this young kid. He’s 17 years old. What’s this all about?”
Speaker 22: 22:01 I remember feeling this immense relief. And then just disbelief when the information came out that it was an older guy and a young guy. Like, “A young guy? A young guy did this? Why?”
Speaker 23: 22:13 Journalistically this moment of being arrested, that’s the moment when we really kick into gear because suddenly there’s two suspects and a story to tell about how we got to that point and who these people are and why this happened. To this day, the why this happened is somewhat elusive.
Bernard Forsyth…: 22:31 People who do this work, you can be really happy about the case. But, you know, unfortunately there’s going to be more coming. You turn around and, you know, you dust yourself off and you get ready to go back to working.
Speaker 9: 22:43 That’s Bernard Forsythe. He led the homicide investigation in Montgomery County when the attacks first started. For the public, the arrests led to a tremendous sense of relief. Kids could play outside again and no one had to worry as they pumped gas.
Speaker 9: 22:59 But for homicide investigators like Forsythe, the DC sniper case didn’t end with the arrests. While the immediate threats seemed to be over there were still questions to be answered. What was the motive and who was actually taking the shots? Muhammad or Malvo?
Speaker 9: 23:18 But more importantly, detectives and journalists would soon discover that the snipers had committed many more crimes than anyone realized.
Bernard Forsyth…: 23:27 We ended up going all around the country trying to track leads down and finding out that these subjects actually did more.
Speaker 9: 23:35 What had Muhammad and Malvo been doing in the months between the shooting of Kenya Cook in February and the spree that started in D.C. in October? Detectives needed to interview Muhammad and Malvo and scour through evidence in the blue Caprice to retrace the snipers’ steps between Washington State and the nation’s capital.
Speaker 9: 24:09 After the arrest agents took John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo to Montgomery County to interview them. They were handcuffed and locked alone in separate rooms while officers prepared to question them. Suddenly, a crash rang out from Malvo’s room. The agent assigned to guard him unlocked the door and rushed inside. Malvo had slipped one hand out of his handcuffs, stacked a chair onto a desk, and was climbing into the space above the ceiling tiles. The agent pulled Malvo to the floor. Other officers heard the commotion and ran in. Malvo was moved to a new, more secure room where the furniture was bolted to the floor.
Speaker 9: 24:50 There, Terry Ryan, a Montgomery County detective began a strange interview with Malvo. Malvo refused to say a word, pantomiming that his lips were sealed. But he responded to questions through gestures. Ryan wanted to know if something unexpected happened at the final shooting of Conrad Johnson that caused Malvo to leave the duffel bag and glove behind.
Terry Ryan: 25:15 [inaudible 00:25:15] that because [inaudible 00:25:18] bag, gloves [inaudible 00:25:22].
Speaker 9: 25:22 Ryan wrote in his report that Malvo nodded and his eyes welled up with tears. He grabbed his collar and began to rock back and forth in his chair.
Speaker 9: 25:35 Meanwhile, Muhammad’s questioning wasn’t going much better. Muhammad told officers he was innocent. He said that he had found the Bushmaster rifle in a dumpster the day before. The suspects weren’t cooperating, but police had plenty of evidence to examine. First, they needed to confirm that the Bushmaster rifle from the Caprice was the one used in the shootings. So they brought the rifle to Walter Dandridge, the firearms examiner at the ATF.
Walter Dandridg…: 26:03 We test fire it in the water tank so that we could recover the bullet in more or less a pristine condition. On one end of that water thank there’s a shooting port. We stick the barrel in there and we do take two shots for comparative purposes. We’ll take those two projectiles that we just test fired, put them on a comparison microscope, and put the evidence projectile fragment on the microscope and then look at those together. If all of that is corresponding, then we will call that an identification.
Speaker 27: 26:41 Ballistics tests on the gun found inside the sniper’s car matched the bullets and shell casings used by the sniper.
Speaker 9: 26:50 The rifle from the Caprice was a match. It was the weapon that had been used to kill 10 and injure three in the D.C. area. It was the one used in Alabama as well. And those were only the shootings that the police knew about. As investigators searched the Caprice, they found more and more evidence, evidence that connect the snipers to crimes all across the nation. Police also learned how the snipers got away with shootings in broad daylight. They had modified the car so they could fire a shot from inside without being seen.
Speaker 9: 27:29 Today, the snipers’ blue 1990 Chevy Caprice is kept by the National Law Enforcement Museum. It’s in a warehouse that is normally inaccessible to the public. David Reichenbaugh met me there to explain how the snipers turned the car into a mobile sniper outpost. The museum’s collections manager, Lauren Sydney, showed us to the car.
Lauren Sydney: 27:50 So we’re in vault three. Still a little messy, but there it is.
Speaker 9: 27:56 Whoa.
Lauren Sydney: 28:01 The car.
Speaker 9: 28:01 This is the blue Caprice?
Lauren Sydney: 28:02 Not a white fox trap.
Speaker 9: 28:04 Not a white fox trap.
Speaker 9: 28:05 The snipers’ Caprice is a formidable car with navy blue matte paint. It has dull hubcaps and dark tinted windows. It felt strange to stand next to it, this car that the snipers had used to commit so many cold-blooded acts of evil. Now the car sits in a museum warehouse under sterile neon lights. It’s been gutted, its seats torn apart by the FBI when they searched for evidence.
Lauren Sydney: 28:31 So they tore everything out of it. So it’s not exactly how it was when they lived with it though. They certainly made some strange modifications.
Speaker 9: 28:38 Investigators found the car had been modified into a killing machine with the snipers shooting through a hole in the trunk of the car.
Lauren Sydney: 28:46 We can take a look at the trunk. So there it is. There’s the famous cutout.
Speaker 9: 28:52 Just above the license plate the snipers had cut a jagged notch into the trunk, an opening just large enough to fit the end of the rifle.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 29:01 Barrel sticks out here. Tripod was here. They had a brown glove that they’d shoved through that hole. With this trunk down and a brown glove shoved in there, nobody would notice that.
Speaker 9: 29:17 But the hole that the snipers carved into the trunk was just the beginning. To use the weapon’s scope the snipers would’ve needed to keep the trunk lid slightly ajar.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 29:27 Just enough for the sight to clear so that they could get sight picture down range. Anybody else, your trunk opens, it’ll eventually creep up like that because it’s on a spring. You don’t want to do that and be seen so you hook the bungee cord to one of the little loops in here.
Speaker 9: 29:47 Near the lock?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 29:48 That way he could control it. So when he was done shooting he just pulled the trunk back down, drive off.
Speaker 9: 29:54 The snipers also created a secret entrance into the trunk through the back seat of the car.
Speaker 9: 29:59 So this back seat pops down?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:01 Yeah.
Speaker 9: 30:02 And you just crawl in here to the back?
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:05 Yep. See the little lip? See how the-
Speaker 9: 30:07 Yeah.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:08 … it sort of goes down?
Speaker 9: 30:08 Yeah. Yeah.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:09 That’s where the rifle was when we pulled it out of the car. So you wouldn’t be able to see the rifle.
Speaker 9: 30:13 Ah.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:15 [crosstalk 00:30:15] walking off. That’s what you’re seeing. You’re seeing the back seat.
Speaker 9: 30:18 Reichenbaugh says that when they made the arrest the car was littered with evidence. They found two walkie-talkies, maps with locations of the shootings circled, and a note with the task force tip line number.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:32 It looked like a car that somebody had been living in for a month. It clearly smelled like body odor and trash. Just picture the back seat, the driver’s seat floor filled full of fast-food containers.
Lauren Sydney: 30:47 And some of their personal belongings.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 30:47 Right. Clothes-
Lauren Sydney: 30:49 [crosstalk 00:30:49] DVDs, some bags.
Speaker 9: 30:51 And there were dated receipts and prepaid phone cards that investigators could use to retrace the snipers’ steps. The most important piece of evidence though was a laptop computer that proved a treasure trove of information. Investigators learned that the laptop had originally belonged to a man from Clinton, Maryland, a man named Paul LaRuffa.
Paul LaRuffa: 31:14 When the snipers started randomly shooting people nobody said, “Oh, you know, this could be related to what happened to Paul.” Nobody had reason to think that until they found my computer. My name is Paul LaRuffa. My wife and I decided to do a crazy thing like open a restaurant. So we did that in 1986. So in 2002 we were in our 16th year. And in September of that year is when it happened.
Paul LaRuffa: 31:44 What they say is the start of everything, that they killed five people in one day, really wasn’t the start. That’s when the whole panic started for the next month. But it at least started on the East Coast when they shot me.
Speaker 9: 32:02 There have been some recent developments in Lee Boyd Malvo’s Supreme Court Case that our team is actively investigating. As a result, Episode 12 will be released in two weeks. Next week, we will release a bonus episode. It’s a behind the scenes look at the Monster series and an update on Lee Boyd Malvo’s case still to come this season on Monster: DC Sniper.
Lt. Reichenbaug…: 32:26 They did have a three phase plan. The first phase was to shoot five Caucasians per day. Phase two, they were going to shoot a pregnant woman.
Speaker 30: 32:36 Washington was the first. There was Arizona.
Speaker 31: 32:39 We don’t know anything about the Atlanta shooting. We don’t know anything about the next night’s shooting in Baton Rouge.
Speaker 30: 32:44 Lee Malvo, when I looked at him I knew he was a victim. He was a child who had been brainwashed.
Speaker 32: 32:50 He had him listen to tapes when he was falling asleep, giving him subliminal suggestions that there was essentially a war going on between Blacks and Whites.
Terry Ryan: 32:59 At the end of this interview I said, “What was the motivation? Why did you guys do this?” And he looked at me and he says-
Lee Boyd Malvo: 33:07 Matrix.
Terry Ryan: 33:07 And I said, “Well what does that mean?”
Speaker 35: 33:10 The Matrix and things of that nature were part of the indoctrination.
Lee Boyd Malvo: 33:14 [inaudible 00:33:14] let me go.
Speaker 36: 33:17 Will they let someone like this loose? Are you out of your mind?
Speaker 36: 33:27 You think?
Lee Boyd Malvo: 33:30 Take Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia. [inaudible 00:33:30].
Speaker 36: 33:31 It doesn’t scare you?
Lee Boyd Malvo: 33:31 They want to hang me? [inaudible 00:33:34], shock me? Just going to last a few minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes then you’re dead.
Speaker 37: 33:41 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 38: 33:56 You know, it’s hard enough working one murder and to have these 13 shootings just in our area, let alone what else went around the country. You know, we knew it was going to be a monumental task.
Speaker 39: 34:08 One of the really most alarming moments was when Muhammad stood to represent himself. We had never heard from Muhammad at that point and he stood up in court and started presenting a case.
Speaker 40: 34:21 Part of Muhammad’s indoctrination was to desensitize Lee to the violence, to shootings.
Speaker 41: 34:27 There’s no amount of psychological coercion that would force somebody to, let’s say kill, if they didn’t already have some kind of predisposition.
Speaker 42: 34:38 Might he get out someday? I’m convinced he will. But I don’t know when that time is.
Speaker 43: 34:44 I remember feeling just basically shock and disbelief that he could’ve done this. He just look so innocent. How shocking. How shocking that a person who could commit such evil acts could look like that.
Speaker 1: 35:04 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 [Kebric 00:35:20], and Josh [Thane 00:35:21]. [Payne Lindsay 00:35:21] and Donald [Albright 00:35:23] are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot TV, alongside producers, Meredith [Steadman 00:35:29] and [Christina Dana 00:35:30]. Original music is by Makeup and Vanity Set.
Speaker 1: 35:34 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.