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Early in the morning on Wednesday, October 2, 2002, the first of many shots began a reign of terror transforming Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas into a killing field. Routine activities such as pumping gas, shopping, sitting on a bench, or waiting in a bus became matters of life and death. No one in public view was safe until the suspects were apprehended on October 24, 2002.

The story, however, did not begin in the D.C. “Beltway” area. Eight months earlier, in Tacoma, Washington, Keenya Cook was home alone with her 6-month-old daughter. She rose to answer the doorbell and was shot point-blank in the face with a .45-caliber handgun. The bullet that killed Keenya was meant for her aunt, who lived in the same house. ...

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