First Responders Remember October, 2002

8:32 AM, Nov 10, 2009   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA)--Convicted sniper, John Allen Muhammad, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 9pm.  He was convicted 6 years ago in the death of Dean Harold Meyers.  Meyers, who lived in Gaithersburg, was killed in Manassas at a Sunoco gas station.

Muhammad, along with his then teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, killed 10 people during October, 2002.  Six of the victims were in Montgomery County. 


9NEWS NOW digital correspondent Dave Statter talks with the people on the front lines during the initial calls for help and brings us the 911 tapes.

911 Operator: "Fire and ambulance."

Caller: "Hi. I'm at Shoppers Food Warehouse on Randolph Road and a man just fell."

It was 6 p.m. on October 2, 2002. A Montgomery County Fire and Rescue crew responding to Shoppers Food Warehouse found 55 year old James Martin dead of a single gunshot wound.

It was just the beginning.

911 Operator: "Fire and ambulance."

Caller: "Yes we got something that sounds like a gunshot."

A little more than 12 hours after the Shoppers Food Warehouse shooting, the call came in for Nicholson Lane and Rockville Pike.

911 Operator: "What's going on there?"

Caller: "This guy's lawnmower did something man. It chopped him up. He's bleeding real bad."

It wasn't until James "Sonny" Buchanan arrived at Suburban Hospital that it was confirmed he had been shot.

Caller: "Oh My God. A man is dead at Aspen Hill Road."

A panicked woman called 9-1-1 at 8:12 a.m.

911 Operator: "What is wrong?"

Caller: "A man has been killed in front of me."

Captain Pat Spevak, then a 24-year veteran of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, was one of the first to arrive at the scene.

"Shortly after I guess a female police officer showed up in her car. She got out and she's wearing a dress and high heels and starts putting on her bullet proof vest. And I'm like if she's doing all of this, we don't belong here," Spevak remembers.

Spevak and the medics rushed Premkumar Walekar from the scene. He was in cardiac arrest.

Twenty-five minutes later, the first person to call 9-1-1 about the shooting of Sara Ramos thought this was a suicide.

911 Operator: "Fire and Ambulance."

Caller: "Yes, I need an ambulance and police at Leisure World Plaza down by the post office. A girl just shot herself."

But a second caller wasn't as certain.

911 Operator: "You don't see a weapon?"

Caller: "No."

Former Montgomery Fire and Rescue Chief Tom Carr says, "As soon as we realized it was not a suicide, it was apparent it was not a suicide, then we started thinking that something unusual is happening."

911 Operator: "Fire and ambulance."

Caller: "Yea, we need an ambulance at the corner of Knolls and Connecticut. A woman was vacuuming her car. Something blew off. She's unconscious. She has blood coming out of her nose and mouth."

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Paramedic Joseph Dingle recalls, "After we got the third call for the shooting, that's when we started to get a little concerned. Whether it was somebody shooting people randomly or was it a terrorist act."

Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera became the last Montgomery County victim for the day. She was just 25-years-old.

It would be 19 days before the shooting would start again in Montgomery County.

Caller: "I'm on the Ride On bus in Aspen Hill."

Conrad Johnson was the last Montgomery County victim. The last person to be shot before the arrest of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo a little less than 48 hours later.  


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