City Desk

10 Years On, How the D.C. Snipers Changed Washington

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the day 55-year-old James Martin was shot in Glenmont—and the D.C. sniper attacks began. With one of the snipers executed and the other telling the Washington Post that he was a "monster" during the rampage, here's a look into the City Paper archives to see Washington during and after the spree.

  • A false positive on an HIV test left a man hoping the snipers would shoot him down.
  • Pressure to cover the attacks left New York Times reporter Jayson Blair making things up.
  • The spree left a man crouching behind gas stations, and eventually, convicting sniper John Allen Muhammad.

In 2002, Ta-Nehisi Coates considered whether Muhammad's race meant that black Americans could no longer expect white people alone to commit the worst crimes:

Muhammad, the accused sniper, surely must rank as something more than a "damn fool." This is an era where lynching has been eradicated, a group of Arabs bombed the World Trade Center, God knows who decided to mail out anthrax, and a black man is charged with being the sniper. We can't hide from insanity behind racial borders. We still have our problems with white America, but they aren't any crazier than the rest of us. Just a little weirder.

Sniper picture by Shutterstock

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  • Kevin

    Where's the part where you discuss how the snipers changed Washington?

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