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Tragic tale comes into focus

After John Allen Muhammad was found guilty of six counts of murder in a Montgomery County courthouse last week, Vickie Snider - whose brother James "Sonny" Buchanan was shot to death by the sniper while riding a lawn mower outside an auto dealership in Silver Spring - talked to the media while State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler looked on.

As chance would have it, I had also photographed Snider in 2003, about a year after a sniper bullet killed her brother. And I photographed the site where he was killed, complete with a makeshift memorial, stuffed animal and dried flowers.

In October 2002, I responded to the sniper shooting of a 13-year-old boy at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, and I covered the subsequent arrest of Muhammad and his partner in crime, Lee Boyd Malvo, at a Myersville rest stop Oct. 24, 2002.

Photographers at The Sun rarely get to see a news event come full circle. But in the case of the sniper shootings, these chance assignments allowed me to personally observe and photograph many elements of this tragic story in Maryland.

I observed that there was no joy in Snider's voice as she spoke last week. Justice was served, but her brother is still dead.

john.makely@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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