Living in Tampa is pretty upsetting on this 3rd day of the hunt for a cold blooded killer. If you are outside of the Tampa Bay area, you may have missed what is monopolizing the news here locally but in the very early morning hours on Tuesday a policeman pulled over a car for a missing plate. Apparently the driver cooperated by pulling over but the policeman became aware that the passenger in the car, a Dontae Morris, had an outstanding warrant and called in for backup. When the two police officers attempted to handcuff this serial criminal, he shot both of the young men point blank in the head and took off running.
He is still running as of now despite the $100,000.00 reward money for any tips leading to his arrest. Our police chief has indicated he must be getting assistance on many levels. One wonders who would harbor this man ~ is he threatening their life? Is he or she a friend?
In 2002, my family was living in Northern Virginia right outside of the infamous beltway and Washington, DC. A year earlier, we had dealt with the 9/11 terrorist attack happening in our backyard. Dulles Intl Airport was in clear sight of our home and the pentagon a short car ride away. So when a lunatic sniper began gunning down the public at large the following September, the wounds and anxiety still not healed, you can only imagine the sheer panic that ensued.
|SNIPER SHOOTING TIMELINE|
|September 21: Two people outside a liquor store in Montgomery, Albama. One dead female, one wounded.
October 2, 5:20 p.m.:Windows shot at craft store in the unincorporated Aspen Hill area of Montgomery County, Md. No one hurt.
October 2, 6:04 p.m.:James D. Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, Md., killed in grocery store parking lot in nearby Wheaton, Montgomery County.
October 3, 7:41 a.m.:James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, of Arlington, Va., killed while cutting grass at an auto dealership in unincorporated White Flint area of Montgomery County.
October 3, 8:12 a.m.: Taxi driver Prem Kumar Walekar, 54, of Olney, Md., killed at gas station in Rockville, Montgomery County.
October 3, 8:37 a.m.:Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring killed outside Silver Spring post office. (Montgomery County)
October 3, 9:58 a.m.: Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring slain as she vacuumed her van at a gas station in Kensington, Montgomery County.
October 3, 9:15 p.m.:Pascal Charlot, 72, of Washington, D.C., killed while standing on a Washington street.
October 4, 2:30 p.m.: 43-year-old woman wounded in craft store parking lot in Fredericksburg, Va. (Spotsylvania County).
October 7, 8:09 a.m.: 13-year-old boy wounded as he is dropped off at school in Bowie, Md. (Prince George’s County).
October 9, 8:15 p.m.: Dean Harold Meyers, 53, of Gaithersburg, Md., killed at gas station in Manassas, Va. (Prince William County).
October 11, 9:30 a.m.:Kenneth H. Bridges, 53, of Philadelphia, killed at a gas station in Fredericksburg.
October 14, 9:15 p.m.:Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington, Va., fatally shot at Home Depot store in Falls Church, Virginia. (Fairfax County).
October 20, 2002:Unidentified man, wounded at the Ponderosa Steak House parking lot in Ashland, Virginia. (Fairfax County).
High school sporting events like Friday night football (over 3 states!) were cancelled; people crouched down while putting gas in their cars to be less visible; trips to the mall were eliminated; kids stayed indoors after school. It was panic on steroids. All caused by the actions of 2 lunatics on some kind of thrill ride….and I was tuned in to the radio or tv every step of the way. Much as I am today.
The death penalty is a hot topic. I understand that and I have a heaviness in my heart thinking about the probability that men and women have been executed in error in the past. Botched evidence or a need for justice to be served in any capacity have certainly led to murder committed at the hands of our state government.
But the case of the sniper attack and the case of Dontae Morris are so vile, so abhorrent, that capital punishment seems just. When one of the snipers was put to death by lethal injection last year, 8 years after his arrest, it didn’t cause me angst. I remember the utter fear and despair every time another shooting was reported. I remember watching my then 16 year old get in her car to go to school and begging her to be wary of anything suspicious and putting my then 13 year old on a school bus and remembering the 13 year old boy shot as he was entering his school.
It didn’t pain me to hear the sniper, John Muhammad, was put to death. It won’t pain me when Dontae Morris meets an early demise, either. I DO pray for their salvation and I DO pray for the many people affected by these tragedies ~ the rippling effect that starts with the families and the police department and extends to you and I.