About 6 p.m. Oct. 2, a bullet felled federal worker James D. Martin, 55, as he walked on a Shoppers Food Warehouse parking lot in Wheaton. A shooting rampage ensued during the next morning's rush hour: James L. "Sonny" Buchanan, 39, was killed about 7:40 a.m. as he mowed the grass at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall in White Flint; Premkumar A. Walekar, 54, was fatally shot about 8:10 a.m. as he pumped gas into his cab at a Mobil station in Aspen Hill; Ramos, 34, died about 8:35 a.m. as she waited for a ride; then, Lewis-Rivera was killed.

"The parents are supposed to go first," says Lewis-Rivera's father, choking back tears.

Next, the snipers cut down people in Washington, Virginia and Bowie. The victims defied categorization -- they were male and female, spanning races and ranging in age from 13 to 72.

Officials kept hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren indoors -- 140,000 in Montgomery County alone. Leafy neighborhoods were devoid of strollers. Gas stations hung blue tarps to shield customers at the pumps.

The snipers then returned to Montgomery County where, on Oct. 22, Conrad E. Johnson, 35, was fatally shot at 5:55 a.m. near Aspen Hill as he stood in the doorway of his bus.

Two days later, Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran depicted as an angry loser from Washington state, and Malvo, a Jamaican teenager, were arrested at an Interstate 70 rest stop near Myersville in Frederick County.

Muhammad has pleaded not guilty and is representing himself in the coming trial.

A climate of fear
Montgomery County residents have long resumed doing what was unthinkable in October 2002. Children play on monkey bars, and adults slowly carry bundles through parking lots. But many residents recall the terror when they pass by the shooting sites, such as the bench in front of the Crisp & Juicy restaurant.

Pierkes, a resident of the Leisure World community, was not in the area when Ramos was killed. But she was so frightened that immediately after returning from a trip to North Carolina in mid-October, she repacked her bags.

"I got in the car. I have a place down in Southern Maryland. I stayed there for a while," she says.

She returned to Silver Spring from St. Mary's County several weeks later, after Muhammad and Malvo were arrested.

Now, throngs walk through the plaza. The restaurant's window has been replaced, the bench relocated.

"They're not scared anymore," says Tony Newton, taking a cigarette break from his job a few doors away at Honey Baked Ham. Ask him about sniper season, and he seethes. He was off the day Ramos was killed; he was planning to celebrate his birthday. The shootings precluded that. After the police asked the public to look out for a white box truck, which they believed to be the snipers' vehicle, drivers such as Newton attracted scrutiny from authorities.

"They pulled me over three times -- I had a white van," he says. He got rid of it within two days. Newton, a man used to chatting up customers, says that he felt lonely in an empty store.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan recalls telling people that they must carry on with their lives as he went from funeral to funeral amid his own fear. "Several times I thought when I walked back into my house at night, maybe I won't make it in," he says.

Crime sprees do not affect so many people so profoundly, but terrorism's randomness does, says Michael S. Greenberger, a law professor who is director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.

"What terrorists hope to do is alter behavior and have people live in fear," he says. "When you look at what these guys were doing, it was terrorism."

Life after the deaths
Reminders of the sniper shootings dot the midsection of Montgomery County. There are unmarked shooting locations, makeshift memorials, the county's gracefully landscaped memorial in Wheaton Regional Park's Brookside Gardens, and places visited by the snipers, some better-known than others.