D.C. Sniper Attacks 10 Years Later: ‘You Never Get Over It’
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the sniper attacks that paralyzed the Washington region for 23 horrific days in 2002.
Ten people were killed and three others critically injured in covert executions carried out by John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo as far south as Ashland, Va.
Around 5:20 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2002 the first shot was fired through a window of a Michaels craft store in Aspen Hill, Md. Nobody was injured.
A little more than one hour later James Martin became the first person killed during the snipers. He was gunned down while walking in the parking lot of a Shoppers Food Warehouse in Wheaton.
The following morning, four others were shot in Montgomery County during a two-hour span. That night, another victim would fall in the District.
GALLERY: Sniper Shootings 10 Years Later
It was prelude of the three bloodcurdling weeks to come and a decade of memories left behind in their wake.
“Seems like it was a couple of years ago,” said former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. “Doesn’t seem like 10 years.”
His sentiment is shared by tens of thousands of people. From investigators working the case to members of the media covering the tragedies to the those simply living inside the sniper’s lair — nobody was immune to the fear and havoc created by the killing spree.
“We thought someday, whoever was doing this was going to turn their gun on all the people who were responding,” said Josh White of The Washington Post.
Shots were never fired on media members or responding officers, but those victims wounded by the snipers’ bullets have more than physical scars.
“I never say getting over it because you never do… you just never do,” said Paul LaRuffa.
LaRuffa was a preliminary victim in the shootings. He was shot at close range while locking up his pizzeria on Sept. 5, 2002.
It wasn’t until police recovered his laptop from Muhammad and Malvo that LaRuffa realized he too was a victim of the snipers.
LaRuffa was shot six times, but thinks the first bullet would have killed him if not for a stroke of luck.
“The window breaking deflected the first bullet, probably from my head,” he said.
LaRuffa was Muhammad and Malvo’s first victim. 12 others would be shot, 10 fatally, as he recovered.
The terror ended on Oct. 24 when the pair were found asleep inside their late-model Chevrolet Caprice at a rest stop in Myersville, Md.
Muhammad was executed by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va. on Nov. 10, 2009.
Malvo is serving six life sentences without the possibility of parole and will spend the remainder of his life in prison.
WNEW’s Kimberly Suiters contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter.