Column: Suburban Detroit’s Phantom Shooter Triggers Memories of My Days in D.C. and the Beltway Snipers
DETROIT -- A week ago, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in suburban Detroit spoke about some crazed person who’s been going around shooting at cars.
What struck a chord with me in particular is what he said about D.C. : “We don’t want anything to develop that certainly developed in the Washington area and paralyzed that area, rightfully so and understandably so for a long time.”
I was living in Washington in October 2002 when two snipers killed 10 people and seriously wounded three others in the region. People were terrified, afraid to fill up their gas tanks. People were afraid to sit near the window at the place I got my haircut at on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, just north of Georgetown. In public, you were really forced to be little paranoid.
Thankfully, in this case here, no one has been hurt so far. But the potential is certainly there. Some bullets have come awfully close in the 22 incidents that were reported last week in Oakland, Livingston and Ingham counties. Most involved the gunman shooting at cars.
Hunting for shooters like this can be a daunting task. In the D.C. case, scores of FBI, ATF and Secret Service agents and deputy U.S. Marshals were on the hunt, along with police departments including D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery County.
The ordeal lasted about three weeks. It was a long three weeks.
I worked day and night on the story as a reporter for the Washington Post — along with about 30 other reporters. Day and night authorities tried to figure out who was doing this.
There were blunders on the part of law enforcement. There were false assumptions. There were little turf battles. But there was also some first-rate investigative work.
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