The AP is reporting that the prime suspects in the sniper shootings that have been keeping all of us who live in Washington on our toes have been taken into custody!
“President Bush was told that federal authorities were reasonably sure the case had been solved, a senior administration official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity…
Several federal sources told The Seattle Times that Muhammad and Malvo may have been motivated by anti-American sentiments in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Both were known to speak sympathetically about the men who hijacked jetliners over Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, the sources told the newspaper. But neither man was believed to be associated with the al-Qaida terrorist network, the sources said.”
I’ve resisted writing about the sniper crisis here for the simple reason that anything I could say about it would just be speculation — I’m no criminologist, just another citizen who found himself looking over his shoulder every time he walked across a parking lot. But I can tell you that things have been very tense here the last few weeks. I’ve been pretty calm about the whole thing — I grew up in Egypt, where my elementary school had terrorism drills instead of fire drills, so having a whacko taking potshots at people isn’t the scariest idea I’ve ever had to deal with — but for a lot of people out here, this is the first time they’ve had to deal with the idea of random violence, and it naturally has them upset. Hopefully these arrests will put an end to this and let us all get back to our lives. That would be the best news we’ll have gotten in quite some time.
UPDATE: Now it looks like they’ve found a Bushmaster .223 rifle in the car of the suspects taken into custody. All the sniper shootings were carried out with a .223-caliber rifle. Curiouser and curiouser…
ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeez, these guys (John Allen Muhammad and his stepson, John Lee Malvo) are screwed beyond belief. The Feds are now saying that the rifle they found in their car is a ballistic match for the one that fired the bullets that killed the sniper’s victims; and in the trunk of the car, they found a little platform that a person could (hypothetically speaking, of course) lie on to shoot a rifle from out of the trunk without having to open it more than a crack. Yeah, that’s the sort of thing the average citizen totes around in the back of his Cavalier! Not to mention that Muhammad is a Gulf War vet who earned recognition as an expert marksman. It oughta be pretty interesting to see what story his defense attorney comes up with to explain all this away, that’s for sure.