Muslim arrested in Beltway case
Nationwide manhunt for John Muhammad, stepson leads to Maryland
By Art Moore
� 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
TACOMA, Wash. 24 Oct - Two men wanted for questioning in the D.C.-area sniper case were arrested early this morning at a rest stop near I-70 in the vicinity of Myersville, Md., about 45 miles northwest of the nation's capital, according to news reports.
John Allen Muhammad
John Allen Muhammad, 41, and stepson Lee Malvo, 17, were transported to Montgomery County, where the sniper task force is headquartered.
A rifle was found in Muhammad's car, reported WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C.
Neighbors who several years ago lived near Muhammad in Tacoma, Wash., described him last night as the head of a devout Muslim family who was prone to domestic violence, according to Seattle's KOMO-TV.
Federal sources said Muhammad and Malvo were known to speak sympathetically about the men who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, but the officials believe neither man to be associated with the al-Qaida terrorist network, the Seattle Times reported.
In connection with the sniper case, however, the FBI reportedly is searching "Camp Ground Zero USA" in Marion, Ala., a militant Islamic training camp with possible links to al-Qaida. Last night Fox News reported that FBI sources said "they are not at liberty to comment" and cannot confirm or deny their agents are investigating the camp.
WorldNetDaily reported two days after the D.C.-area shootings began Oct. 2 that FBI profilers believed the case fit no regular category and could find no motive other than terrorism. The shootings, which have caused an economic slowdown in the area, started four days after al-Qaida warned the U.S. that it would strike economic targets, WND reported last Thursday. A former CIA operative told WND in a story published Saturday, that the nature of the killings and Pentagon involvement in the probe support the terrorism theory.
In March 1999, Muhammad abducted his children and took them to the Caribbean after separating from his wife earlier that year, KOMO said. The children, a 12-year-old son and two younger daughters, now reportedly are in protective custody in Maryland.
As the focus of the Maryland-based sniper probe moved to the Pacific Northwest yesterday, task force head Charles Moose announced that Muhammad, also known as John Allen Williams, was being sought for information related to the case.
Moose told reporters last night that it should not be assumed that Muhammad "is involved in any of the shootings we are investigating," but is wanted for federal firearms violations and may have information material to the sniper probe.
Muhammad, described as about 6 feet 1 and 180 pounds, was believed to be traveling with a juvenile and considered "armed and dangerous," Moose said.
The Montgomery County, Md., police chief also gave a message to the sniper.
Moose said "our inability to talk has been a concern for us as well as for you," noting several attempts to establish a connection.
"You have indicated that you wanted us to do and say certain things," Moose said in his message to the sniper. "You asked us to say, 'We have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose.' We understand that hearing us say this is important to you."
The solution, Moose said, "remains to call us and get a private toll free number established," or write to a post office box address.
The police chief's references apparently were related to a note found at the site of Saturday's shooting near Richmond, Va., and another at Tuesday's Montgomery County attack both of which included a demand for $10 million.
Gulf War vet
Seattle's KOMO radio reports that Muhammad is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War.
A former soldier who says he recognized Muhammad in a photo on TV news last night said he served with Muhammad in the Army.
Randy Lyons, of Bothell, Wash., told KING-TV that he knew Muhammad as an "outstanding soldier" who had a "very pretty wife and kids."
Authorities said they also were searching for Muhammad's stepson, John Lee Malvo, a citizen of Jamaica, according to CNN and Fox News.
Fox said the two men are linked to a blue or burgundy 1990 Chevy Caprice with New Jersey license NDA-21Z, which matched the car in which they were found asleep.
Fox News also reported that warrants related to the D.C. case issued yesterday in Montgomery, Ala.
A telephone call from the sniper alerted investigators to look into a Sept. 21 fatal shooting at a liquor store in Montgomery, according to the Seattle Times.
An official said a piece of paper found at the Alabama shooting scene was traced to Malvo, who then was linked to a Tacoma house where he had been living with Muhammad.
Muhammad was based at nearby Fort Lewis, Wash., in 1994-95 and lived in a Tacoma neighborhood where a backyard search for ballistic material was conducted yesterday, according to Peggy Bellows, an editor for the Tacoma News Tribune.
FBI agents also conducted a search yesterday in Bellingham, Wash., related to two persons of interest in the D.C. sniper case, at least one of whom is "not a U.S. national," according to the mayor of the city in northwestern Washington state.
Agents in Tacoma recovered two shell casings along with a tree stump with bullet holes in the backyard of a fourplex, said KOMO-TV in Seattle.
The material was to be transported by air to Washington, D.C., according to news reports.
Lived near Canadian border
Bellingham mayor Mark Asmundson told Seattle's KING-TV that his police department began cooperating yesterday morning with FBI agents interested in two men who were residents of the city, near the Canadian border, in the past year and a half.
One was a student at Bellingham High School and the other was an older man, according to Asmundson.
A KOMO-TV report later confirmed that the student was Malvo.
The two were most recently in Bellingham nine months ago, Asmundson said.
"Being near the border, we've had our share of unusual characters in Bellingham," Asmundson said.
In Tacoma, sources confirmed that the search there was related to the D.C. sniper case, according to KIRO-TV.
Fort Lewis spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Piek said the FBI had asked for help from the base, KOMO-TV reported.
The backyard search was conducted by consent of the property owner, said FBI spokesperson Melissa Mallon on the scene late yesterday afternoon. Local television news reports said the owner is not a person of interest.
"There is no immediate danger for anybody in this neighborhood," Mallon said. "If there were, we would let people know."
Tacoma mayor Bill Baarsma said in an interview with KING-TV in Seattle that he was called out of a meeting at about 12:30 p.m. yesterday to be met by the FBI.
"It was a day of irony for me, because I was called out of a meeting about how to cope with a terrorist attack," he said.