Looking back

Revisiting the 2002 sniper shootings

J. Adam Fenster⁄The Gazette
Customers at the gas station at corner of Rockville PIke and North Washington Street fill their vehicles in the afternoon on Oct. 11, 2002, follwing the morning's fatal shooting of a man at a gas station in Spottslvania, VA. Here, Jeanne Paul takes cover as she fills her tank.

Much of the nation was on edge in October 2002 as a series of random sniper attacks gripped the region. Never before had an incident plagued Montgomery County — known for its safe neighborhoods and lack of significant serious crime — in such a dramatic way. After nearly a month of shootings, two suspects were captured and arrested, leaving 10 victims dead and three injured.

During that time, The Gazette produced four community editions, four Weekend Edition papers and numerous daily updates on our Web site. These postings were typically revised several times a day; those presented here are in their final forms.

Scroll down for a chronology of stories and special features, or jump directly to Week OneWeek Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five.

Update 10/3: Five killed in 16 hours

Update 10/3: Residents respond to shooting spree at local store

Weekend Edition: Five killed in 16 hours

Update 10/4: Police hope to release profile of shooter

Update 10/4: Police believe hunting or assault rifle used in shootings

Update 10/4: Autopsies of five victims completed

Update 10/6: Killings in D.C., Virginia linked to Montgomery shootings

Update 10/7: Bowie student shot outside middle school

Update 10/7: Police search for gunman in shooting of 13-year-old boy

Update 10/7: Sixth killing linked to Montgomery shootings

Update 10/7: Schools on Code Blue alert after Bowie shooting

Update 10/7: Students say Tasker victim is friendly

Update 10/7: Police chasing leads in shootings

Update 10/7: Rockville, Gaithersburg events canceled

Update 10/7: Bowie shooting linked to others

Update 10/7: Advice for parents

Update 10/7: Rumors of gunmen circulate Laurel High School

Update 10/7: Code Blue alerts

Update 10/9: School shooting linked to sniper shootings

Update 10/9: Police rule possible sniper sighting a false alarm

Montgomery: 'Indiscriminate murder' shocks, unsettles county

Montgomery: Joint task force assembled

Montgomery: Schools ask for patience in crisis

Montgomery: Experts say ammunition may not lead to weapon

Aspen Hill, Rockville and Olney: Confusion, fear and questions prevail

Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and Potomac: Random fear

Burtonsville, Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Wheaton: ‘I sit here and pray. I’m very scared.’

Damascus, Germantown and Poolesville: Upcounty community on edge

Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village: Community reacts with caution

Update 10/10: County officers and troopers search for suspect

Update 10/10: School sports postponed indefinitely

Frederick: Police work frantically to solve case before sniper strikes again

Prince George's: A faceless terror

Prince George's: Security planned daily until suspect is caught

Prince George's: 'You don't know if something else will happen'

Prince George's: Tasker parents seek reassurances from school after shooting

Prince George's: Bowie awaits victim's recovery

Update 10/11: Grand Bel killing unrelated to sniper shootings

Update 10/11: Man fatally shot at Exxon station

Weekend Edition: 10 days, 7 dead, 2 wounded, a single question

Weekend Edition: Pols find time for TV

Weekend Edition: Gaithersburg resident becomes sniper's ninth victim

Weekend Edition: Should media have reported police leak?

Weekend Edition: Killings could inspire copycat, psychologist warns

Business Gazette: Businesses suffer as customers stay away

Update 10/14: Police continue search for sniper

Update 10/15: Police link latest shooting to attacks


Montgomery: Living under the gun

Montgomery: Virginia killing is sniper's 9th

Montgomery: String of crises prompted county to plan for panic, danger

Montgomery: Sniper attacks color gubernatorial race

Montgomery: Cable channel offers shows on handling stress

Aspen Hill, Olney and Rockville: Community tries to carry on

Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and Potomac: Fear does not overcome area residents

Burtonsville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton: When fear becomes part of the routine

Damascus, Germantown and Poolesville: Caution taken with sniper still at large

Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village: Catch words: Canceled, closed

Update 10/17: Police still do not have composite sketch of sniper

Prince George's: Curry absent during county sniper crisis

Op-ed: Living under the gun

Weekend Edition: Anxious suburbs closing down

Weekend Edition: Thousands of wrong numbers

Weekend Edition: Sniper making it hard to get out the vote

Weekend Edition: Experts assess sniper theories

Op-ed: Safety of our communities hangs in balance

Update 10/18: No outdoor shooting in four counties

Business Gazette: Hotels staying course -- for now

Update 10/22: Bus driver killed in shooting

Update 10/22: Sniper conveys chilling message


Community reaction: Letters to the editor

Montgomery: Police, killer keep talking

Montgomery: Another terrifying morning in Montgomery

Montgomery: Therapist urges to not surrender to anxiety

Montgomery: Fears over sniper may depress voter turnout

Aspen Hill and Rockville: Cancellations are the order of the day

Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and Potomac: Residents try to adjust to life with sniper

Burtonsville, Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Wheaton: Residents adjust day-to-day routines

Damascus: Children appreciative of police's effort

Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village: Anxiety harms local businesses

Germantown and Poolesville: Sniper shootings interrupt fall traditions

Olney: Longing to return to normal

Update 10/23: Sniper task force responds to cracked windshield

Update 10/23: Tacoma, Wash., yard searched in connection to shootings

Frederick: Emergency plan aids in schools' sniper response

Prince George's: Serial sniper could dampen voter turnout

Prince George's: Manhunt tasks county resources, coordination

Prince George's: Experts offer region counseling for sniper-induced stress, fear

Prince George's: Community mourns sniper victim

Update 10/24: Officials begin frenetic search for 'armed and dangerous' man

Update 10/24: Rifle, tripod seized from suspects' car

Update 10/24: Many county events to resume normal schedule

Update 10/24: Sports teams to resume outdoor practices, games

Update 10/24: Last sniper victim's funeral held Saturday

Update 10/24: Travel agency rewards sniper catchers

Update 10/25: Politicians praise Moose, discuss case

Update 10/25: Gansler wants to try sniper suspects first

Weekend Edition: Shouldering the frustrations of a nation

Weekend Edition: Rifle in car is murder weapon

Weekend Edition: Schools back on schedule

Weekend Edition: At the end, media exhale

Weekend Edition: Back to normal

Weekend Edition: Gubernatorial candidates seek death penalty

Business Gazette: No treat in store for business on Halloween

Update 10/29: Feds file charges against sniper suspect


Obituaries: List of shooting victims

Graphic: Map of the shootings

Montgomery: Prosecutors battle over jurisdiction

Montgomery: Region's three-week struggle with 'God' and fear

Montgomery: Victims' families left with relief but lingering questions

Montgomery: Moose shouldered a nation's anxiety

Montgomery: Suspects visited Silver Spring YMCA

Montgomery: Candidates wrestle with death penalty

Montgomery: Beware delayed stress in atmosphere of fear

Op-ed: Our heroes

Aspen Hill and Rockville: Life returns to normal

Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and Potomac: Residents breathing a sigh of relief

Burtonsville: Parents still wary, but children are elated

Damascus: Life resumes after sniper shootings

Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village: Returning outside

Germantown and Poolesville: Arrests bring return to normalcy

Olney: Life returns to normal

Silver Spring and Takoma Park: Tension lifts for everyone at area schools

Wheaton: Finally, area gets out of the spotlight

Frederick: Sniper saga ends at Myersville rest area

Prince George's: Police chief to honor every employee for work against sniper

Prince George's: Tasker Middle students, staff back outdoors

Update 11/1: Rockville officials angry about leak

Update 11/5: Sniper suspect remains held without bond

Weekend Edition: Pols warning prosecutors to play nice