Newsday reports Official: Sniper duo stopped at least 5 times at roadblocks:
The car used by the two suspects in the Washington-area sniper attacks was stopped "at least five times" at roadblocks thrown up immediately by police after many of the shootings, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.More details on some of the roadblock stops by following the link.
But because the officers were unaware that the car, a 1990 blue Chevrolet Caprice, was the vehicle used in the shootings and focused instead on white box trucks or vans identified by early witnesses, they did not conduct thorough searches, he said.
The missed opportunities came despite an account from a witness to police on Oct. 3, the second day of the three-week shooting spree, that he had seen a Caprice leaving the scene of the only shooting inside Washington, D.C. The other snipings were outside of the capital. But the witness had described the color of the Chevrolet as brown or burgundy.
The senior federal official said the crystallizing moment in the investigation occurred last Sunday, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and FBI agents paid a visit to a priest in Richmond, Va., just south of where the 12th victim had been shot and seriously wounded the previous day. U.S. Marshals said they also participated in the interview.
It is unclear how the investigators knew that the priest had received a call, reportedly from the two suspects, the day before the shooting in nearby Ashland, Va.
Muhammad and Malvo had complained to the priest that the police were not taking the pair seriously in their attempts to communicate or negotiate, the official said.
Then the AP and KIRO-TV are reporting that ATF Officials Warned About Muhammad Last Summer:
FBI officials in Washington state referred John Allen Muhammad to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for possible investigation in July after interviewing a witness who claimed the former soldier was trying to obtain a silencer for his gun and spoke of killing police officers, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.
Police said emphatically that nothing they received that day from the witness suggested Muhammad and a 17-year-old companion, John Lee Malvo, would commit a series of killings in the suburbs around the nation's capital, as they are now suspected of doing.
A Bellingham man, Harjee Singh, said he met with authorities last summer and told them Muhammad and Malvo -- whom he'd met at the local YMCA -- had talked to him about a possible plan to shoot police officers.
"I raised the red flag three months ago," Singh said. "I told them what their intention was."
Asked to elaborate, Singh said, "They told me they were likely to do a sniper attack. They told me they were going to shoot to kill."
Asked by the AP if they named targets, Singh said, "Yeah, cops."
He said the pair also mentioned possibly shooting a tanker truck.