In 2002, a horrifying series of shootings known as the Beltway Sniper grabbed the Washington, DC, area and sent shockwaves across the country. Over the course of three weeks, sniper team John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed ten people and gravely injured three more.
Their strategy relied on distant, indiscriminate shooting to instill widespread terror and dread among the populace. People going about their normal activities like grocery shopping, filling up their automobiles, or waiting at bus stops were the targets of the attacks.
After the sniper attacks, authorities pooled their resources to find those responsible. The constant stream of news reports only served to heighten people’s sense of uneasiness.
Both Muhammad and Malvo were eventually arrested, tried, with Muhammad receiving the death penalty and Malvo receiving several life terms. These events prompted conversations about the causes of mass shootings and the broader topic of gun control and its effects on public safety. The recent sniper attacks in Washington, D.C., serve as a sobering reminder of the difficulties law enforcement agencies face in preventing and reacting to acts of domestic terrorism.