October 2 A 55-year-old man becomes the sniper's first victim when he is killed by a single bullet around 6 p.m. in a grocery parking lot in Montgomery County. Earlier, a bullet is fired through a Michael's craft store window; no one is hit.
Four other people going about mundane business are shot to death during morning rush hour, sweeping the suburbs with fear. A sixth victim is shot about 9:20 p.m. near the county line in Washington.
A woman is wounded as she loads packages into her minivan in the parking lot of a Michael's craft store in Fredericksburg, Va. A "geographic profiler" is called in to try and find a pattern to the shootings.
A 13-year-old boy is critically wounded moments after being dropped off at a middle school in Bowie in Prince George's County. President Bush condemns the "cowardly and senseless acts of violence."
Schools beef up security, cancel outdoor events and call off field trips. A Washington television station reports a tarot card is found near the school where the boy was shot. Its scribbled message: "Dear Policeman, I am God."
Dean Harold Meyers, who has just finished refueling his car, is shot to death at a gas station in Manassas, Va., shortly after 8 p.m. The number of investigators assigned to the case grows to more than 200.
Kenneth Bridges, 53, is shot at a gas station in Fredericksburg, Va., at 9:30 a.m. -- across the street from a Virginia state trooper who is investigating a traffic accident.
Police release composite drawings of a white box truck with unknown lettering on the side linked by eyewitnesses to the sniper attacks. Authorities say they plan to release a rendering of a white Chevrolet Astro van seen at the last shooting.
Linda Franklin, who happened to be an FBI worker, is fatally shot about 9:15 p.m. outside a Home Depot store in Falls Church, Va. Police flood the area and stop all white vans in the area, to no avail.
The Department of Defense approves the use of sophisticated military spy planes with high-tech surveillance gear to hunt the sniper. Police release sketches of two vans with a ladder rack.
Police say a witness saw the shooter of Franklin fire a single bullet with an AK-74, a high-powered Russian assault weapon, and drive off in a light-colored van. Gov. Parris N. Glendening bans hunting in four suburban counties.
October 18 Authorities charge Matthew M. Dowdy, 37, with making a false statement to investigators, saying his descriptions of the weapon and getaway vehicles were false and deliberately misleading.
October 19 A 37-year-old man is wounded in a restaurant parking lot in Ashland, Va., outside Richmond, ending a five-day lull in the sniper attacks and marking the first weekend shooting.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose makes a direct appeal to the sniper in response to a sealed letter left at the scene of the last shooting. "We do want to talk to you. Call us at the number you provided," Moose says.
Police arrest two men near Richmond, Va. -- one in a white van and another talking on a gas station pay phone -- but later determine that the men have nothing to do with the shootings. Richmond- area schools close.
Conrad Everton Johnson, a bus driver, is killed at daybreak in Montgomery County. Police say that another letter was left nearby and reveal that the Oct. 18 letter demanded $10 million and threatened, "Your children are not safe anywhere, at any time."
Police put out a late-night alert for two men in a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey plates.
Around 3:30 a.m., authorities arrest John Allen Muhammad, 41, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, at a rest stop off Interstate 70 near Myersville.