A decade ago, the Washington region began to be menaced by the dysfunctional duo of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, better known as the D.C. Snipers. Beginning October 2 and continuing until a tip led to their capture on October 24, 10 people were indiscriminately shot dead and three others were seriously wounded.
Only one of the shootings occurred within the borders of the District: on October 3, capping the single deadliest day of the snipers’ killing spree, Pascal Charlot, aged 72, was gunned down while crossing a street in Northwest. In a macabre version of Six Degrees of Separation it seemed that everybody in Washington was connected to one of the victims. (I had a former colleague who knew a relative of Sarah Ramos, 34, who was shot and killed while sitting on a bench outside a shopping center in Silver Spring, Maryland.)
Tried and convicted of murder, Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in 2009; Malvo, now 27, is serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison in Virginia.