John Allen Mohammed, The DC Sniper In ‘Catching Killers’ Season 3, Explained: Is John Dead Or Alive?


The fourth episode of Catching Killers Season 3 takes us through the chaos and mayhem that happened when multiple people were killed during the DC sniper attacks that took the entire country by storm. The detectives were not able to ascertain any kind of motive, which made it even more difficult to find potential leads that could help them to find the perpetrators. So, let’s find out who was behind the shootings and why they were killing innocent people in the first place.

The DC Killer Claims Life

The entire neighborhood of Montgomery County was shaken when, on October 3, 2002, a man was killed in broad daylight. Before the eyewitnesses made the emergency call and the police arrived at the scene, there were multiple shootings that happened in and around the area. Terry Ryan and Roger Thompson were the detectives in charge of the case, and they were not able to process what was happening or who was shooting these people. Before they reached one crime scene, they got a call from another, and in that chaotic state of mind, they didn’t know what to do or how to make this stop. The problem was that even after multiple people were shot, nobody saw a person with a gun in and around the crime scene, and that deepens the mystery. This was the story at every crime scene where a person got shot: there was utter chaos and mayhem, but still, there was no sign of the perpetrator.

The detectives came back to the police station after the first phase of killings were over in Catching Killers Episode 4. They calmly tried to ascertain what exactly happened that day. They presumed that there ought to be some connection between the victims; either they knew each other, or they worked together, but unfortunately, nothing of that sort came up. The detectives couldn’t find anything that connected these victims, and that is what made the entire investigation even more complex. The detectives knew that once they ascertained the motive of the killer, they would be able to find some more information about him. But after a lot of research, the detectives realized that they were looking in the wrong direction since it felt like the DC sniper was choosing his victims randomly and had some other motive that they were not aware of.

Around this time, the FBI and the ATF were looped in, and Michael Bouchard, special agent of the Baltimore Field Division, took over the investigation. Walter Dandridge, who worked for the ATF, together with other forensics experts, found out that a rifle was used to shoot the victims. They studied the projectile and came to the conclusion that the same rifle was used to shoot all the people. But still, this was not enough to find the perpetrators, and the detectives knew that they had to find a breakthrough before more people were killed. The media was already criticizing the law enforcement authorities, and there was a lot of fear in the general public. People had stopped going out of their houses, and schools had stopped having recess because nobody knew when the DC sniper would strike again. A few people came forward and said that they had seen a white box truck in and around the area whenever the shootings happened in Catching Killers episode 4, but then again, there were hundreds of such vehicles, and what the detectives needed was the license plate of the vehicle or some information about the people who were riding it.

How Did The Police Catch The DC Sniper?

The most shocking development happened in Catching Killers Episode 4 when a 13-year-old boy named Iran Brown was shot by the DC sniper. The entire country was dumbfounded, and they didn’t know how somebody could be so cruel as to kill a child. One thing became clear: the killers wanted the government to take them seriously, and that is why they were making random innocent people their targets. April Carroll joined the investigation team because there was a need to expand the task force and find the killers as soon as possible before another innocent Iran Brown lost his life. The media had started questioning the credibility of the law enforcement authorities, and the ATF, as well as the FBI, were itching to get some breakthrough so that they could pin down this person.

The detectives knew that the killer could be among them, so after a press conference, April Carroll and her team sat down to see the footage in case anybody was acting suspiciously during the conference. There was a guy who, after the conference got over, came up to the podium and checked the papers kept there. The detectives were of the opinion that the man could be the DC killer. April Carroll bumped into him when she was standing at a red light. The man was in his car just next to her, and April informed her team about it, who then arrested him. But it was a misjudgment, and the man had nothing to do with the killings.

Once again, the detectives had to start from scratch. The latest victim of the DC sniper was a man named Jeffrey Hopper, and his wife heard the gunshot came from a nearby forest area. The investigators went there to find out that there was a note stuck on one of the trees where the killers had demanded a ransom if the government wanted the killings to stop. It was clear that the perpetrators were doing it for money, and they had every intention of killing more people unless their demands were met. The killers had contacted a police officer named Derrick in the past and made a similar demand, but nobody could ascertain whether they were the same people who were carrying out the DC shootings. They had committed acts of robbery and murder before, and during one such incident, one of the perpetrators accidentally dropped a shooter magazine, which the police recovered. The fingertips found on it were run on the national database, and the name of a 17-year-old boy named Lee Boyd Malvo came up.

Malvo was an immigrant from the West Indies, and when he was entering the United States from Canada, he told the authorities that he was with an older man named John Allen Mohammed. John Allen often used William as his last name and had served in the army for quite some time. His wife had taken a restraining order against him because she didn’t want him to see his kids. The police officers saw a vehicle registered in his name, and after looking for it for days, one day they just spotted it standing in a neighborhood. A group of agents was sent to that spot, and they took John Allen and Malvo into custody. Malvo and John Allen were found guilty by the court of law, and the entire country took a huge sigh of relief as now they could now move freely. Malvo got a life sentence, whereas John Allen got capital punishment and was executed in 2009. The judgment was well received by the general public as everybody thought that the perpetrators got what they deserved. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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