Snipers Save Lives Also

October 15, 2002As you may already know I have been a SWAT Sniper for about 3 years. My specialty is Counter Sniper for executives and dignitary or high profile protection. What this basically means is, I am posted at certain locations looking for a sniper/assassin. Once a threat is detected, I am charged in countering his/her ability to attack by early detection and neutralizing (killing) him/her. Now on to business…This Sniper killing people in the DC Metro area is a skilled sharpshooter and very calculated. Unfortunately he appears very disturbed and has just left a calling card stating he was God. What that probably means is he may escalate the matter by increasing the rate of killing in each attack because he acknowledges the police’s hot pursuit. This sniper knows it’s a matter of time before he is discovered. He thinks he is superior to everyone, but knows eventually he will be caught. He is playing a very sick game that he feels he is winning. He will probably want to sensationalize his confrontations with the police and eventually stop running and have a standoff. The police may be his future targets. 

It is very important that you adjust your regular routine because this is a very deadly individual. I am going to give you my Personal/professional advice on the matter. The Sniper’s MO (his methods) are the following. 

a. 1st wave of attacks were concentrated in an area the suspect was very familiar with.b. It appears these initial attacks were closer, probably less than 100 yards away. Witnesses were hearing loud cracks. c. He definitely is showing off. He is trying to maintain 100 %, one shot for one kill. (Sniper’s creed).d. He is probably not shooting the first person that appears. He is looking for the highest probable kill. This encompasses distance, position, and movement of the individual and excludes physical barriers (vehicles, tress, columns, etc). 

e. He is shooting from areas adjacent to major roadways, thoroughfares, highways, etc. (quick egress). First group was within a couple of miles from the beltway. Child shot in Bowie was a block away from the US 50 on the 197. f. He went up to northern Virginia (70 miles away) to throw police off his trail (diversion, used by snipers for stalking targets and eluding enemy). 

g. He is making this to be a giant ‘Stalk’ around the Metro area. It is a game now. He wants them to come after him (like he is in his own war against the enemy). h. He is probably using any foliage (tree line, woods, bushes) that is around the malls, shopping center, gas stations, and parking lots. 

i. He is able to shoot accurately out to 500 yards (5 football fields) with a scope (depends on individual’s abilities). j. The farther out he/she is, the more difficult of course it is to detect or pinpoint location. This aids in egress as well. (He knows this). 

My advice is to consider the following.  1.      Avoid unnecessary errands.2.      Bring someone along.3.      Do not stand outside your vehicle grabbing things out the car.4.      If you go to the store, put items in back seat of car (nothing in trunk) so that you can grab items and exit quickly.5.      When slowing down or at a stop, keep windows closed (glass deflects bullets, he knows this and he is not shooting through glass anymore).6.      Never walk straight to a door more than 20 feet away. Zig zag and walk at angels. The shooter is setting up on doorways/entrances and waiting for victims to line up on entrance. The hardest shot for a sniper is a target traversing laterally to his/her position (perpendicular)6.      Walk between cars, use them for protection, and NEVER walk in a straight line to a doorway. Park as close as possible.7.      Be mindful of wooded areas and any bushes around establishment. More than likely surrounding areas. Look for reflections (glare of the scope or weapon).8.      Use drive-thru at fast food9.      Look around and make it obvious (looking over your shoulder in the distant) he may hesitate if they think someone notices him. Point to what you are looking at as well. You want to telegraph yourself to others and get them involved.10.  Keep clear of abandoned vehicles, but concern yourself with them. He is probably parking along roads and walking to his shooting position.11.  You are probably safer inside the DC area only because congestion will prevent him an easy egress for the sniper. So if there is a toss up for a store then pick the inner city (not the outer boundaries). The main thing is being careful. Everyone is at risk even the police. He is able to pick the time and place so he has the overall advantage over the police; however, his greatest advantage is that he has no particular target.  He can take what is called “targets of opportunity”.  This means that if he thinks a shot isn’t going to be a clean kill shot, he will wait for one that will be.  That may be the next person of 50 people later.  Some additional considerations:You are safer on a windy day than on a calm day.  It is harder to shoot accurately in the windContrast and a clear edge makes for a good target:                At night try not to let yourself be backlit.  A solid dark backlit shape is a high contrast target and is easy to sight-in on.

· At night, wear dark colors.  If you are not backlit, then you will have a very low contrast with the background and hard to sight in on.

·              In the day, wear light colors but not loud or bright colors.  You do not want to attract attention or provide a high contrast target.

·              Wear scarfs, long coats, hats, loose clothes, carry bags, etc.  Anything that will make it hard to detect the exact aim-point on the torso or head.

The one-shot, one-kill credo often causes the shooter to go for a headshot, as has been the case several times so far.  If a zigzag walking path is not possible and dodging and weaving would make you feel like a weirdo, then try just moving your head.  Rubbing your neck while you move your head looks natural and still makes for an almost impossible headshot from any distance. 


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