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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Murder → Washington sniper's victim No. 4

Oct. 3, 2002, Thursday, 8:37 a.m.: Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring, Md., killed outside Maryland post office. Sarah Ramos, the 34-year-old Silver Spring, Md., resident had gotten off a bus at a shopping center in a retirement community. She sat down on a bench outside a post office in Silver Spring, Maryland to read, and was shot in the head. Friends described Ramos, a native of El Salvador who worked as a babysitter, as a hardworking immigrant who dreamed of building a prosperous life. Ramos was remembered as a cheerful, fun-loving wife and a doting mother of a 7-year-old son. She belonged to several church groups. A medical examiner later testified that the bullet had shredded Ramos' brain. An explosion rang out and a woman on a bench slumped over, blood pouring from her head, a witness testified Tuesday in the trial of sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad. Just moments before Sarah Ramos was shot on Oct. 3, 2002, Ralph Sheldon testified, he had seen a "pretty lady sitting there" on the bench at a shopping center in Silver Spring, Md. After the shooting, Sheldon went into a nearby restaurant and called 911. "A girl just shot herself," Sheldon could be heard telling the dispatcher on the tape of the call, which prosecutors played for the jury. Under questioning by prosecutors, Sheldon explained that he had thought it was a suicide because Ramos, 34, had been sitting alone. But Cynthia Martin, the first police officer to arrive on the scene, testified that she immediately discerned the wound was not self-inflicted because there was no weapon nearby. Martin also knew there was no way the woman could survive. A medical examiner later testified that the bullet had shredded Ramos' brain. Dr. Mary G. Ripple, the medical examiner who testified on the hearing, was recalled to the stand to describe the autopsy she assisted on the body of Sarah Ramos. Demonstrating on her own head, the witness said the bullet had entered the victim's forehead and had exited at her lower neck. She said the bullet "split her brain in half" and that all bones in her skull were fractured except for her facial bones. Ramos was one of five people to die in Montgomery County, Md., within a 16-hour period on Oct. 2-3, 2002.

The Beltway sniper attacks took place during three weeks of October 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic United States. As ten people were killed and three others critically injured in and around Washington, D.C., in various locations throughout the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and along Interstate 95 in Virginia, it was widely speculated that a single sniper was using the Capital Beltway for travel, possibly in a white van-type truck. They were carried out by John Allen Muhammad (b. December 31, 1960) and Lee Boyd Malvo (born February 18, 1985). It was later learned that the rampage involving two men apparently began the month before with murders and robbery in Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia which had resulted in 3 deaths. An earlier spree by the responsible pair had killed victims in California, Arizona, and Texas, for a total of 16 deaths identified as of March 2007. The incident came to a close on October 24, when Muhammad and Malvo were found sleeping in their car, a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, at a Maryland rest stop and arrested on federal weapons charges. Police were tipped off by a trucker who noticed the parked car and also received another call from an alert motorist. A .223-caliber weapon and bipod were found in a bag in Muhammad's car. Ballistics tests later conclusively link the seized rifle to 11 of the 14 bullets recovered from earlier attacks. "Inside the car was found a Bushmaster rifle, a scope, a tripod, and a "sniper's perch" inside the trunk of the car. There were two holes drilled in the trunk - one for the rifle and the other for the scope. The back seat had been altered to fold down allowing the sniper to enter the trunk, make his shot, and never leave the confines of the car. It immediately became apparent why there were no witnesses to the shootings."

Wiki Article: Beltway sniper attacks

Wiki Article: John Allen Muhammad

Wiki Article: Lee Boyd Malvo

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