Timeline: Tracking the Sniper's Trail

Oct. 2Oct. 3 | Oct. 4 | Oct. 5 | Oct. 6 | Oct. 7 | Oct. 9 | Oct. 10 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 12 | Oct. 14 | Oct. 15 | Oct. 16 | Oct. 17 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 19 | Oct. 20 | Oct. 21 | Oct. 22 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 24 | Oct. 25

Here's a rundown of the key events and search for evidence that led to Thursday morning's arrest of two men police believe may be related to the Beltway Sniper case.

Wed., Oct. 2

-- James D. Martin was killed by a sniper outside a Shopper's Food Warehouse in Silver Spring, Md.

Thurs., Oct. 3

-- Four more people are killed at various locations during a two-hour shooting spree in Montgomery County, Md.

-- Pascal Charlot is killed at 9:15 p.m. while standing on a street in Washington., D.C.

-- Police announce they are investigating the shootings as the work of a serial sniper, and describe the gunman as a "skilled shooter."

Friday, Oct. 4

-- A 43-year-old woman is shot and wounded outside a Michael's craft store in Fredericksburg, Va.

-- Police set up a tip hotline and offer a reward of $50,000. The reward eventually grows to $500,000.

-- Authorities say the same high-powered weapon was used to kill at least three of five Maryland residents.

-- Spotsylvania County, Va., police said witnesses to the Fredericksburg shooting described a possible suspect vehicle in that case as a mid-sized, newer model car.

Saturday, Oct. 5

-- Police link the Fredericksburg shooting with the sniper.

Sunday, Oct. 6

-- Investigators complete geographic profile of the killer. FBI works on a psychological profile.

Monday, Oct. 7

-- A 13-year-old boy in Bowie, Md., is shot outside his school in Bowie, Md., but survives. Investigators quickly link that shooting to the sniper.

Wednesday, Oct. 9

-- Dean Harold Meyers, 53, is shot dead at a gas station near Manassas, Va.

-- The Washington Post and WUSA-TV report a tarot "death" card was found near the Bowie crime scene. The card read, "Dear policeman, I am God." Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, who is heading the task force hunting down the sniper, blasts media and others for information leaks.

-- A woman is questioned by Prince George's County, Md., police. Law enforcement say she may have dropped off a man seen walking into a wooded area near a local high school. Officials search for but cannot find the man.

Thursday, Oct. 10

-- Virginia police report two males were seen driving away in a white vehicle after the Oct. 9 shooting of Meyers.

-- Maryland police detain a Kensington, Md., man "of previous interest" to investigators after being called to his home and finding a cache of weapons. The man was not arrested.

-- Prince William County, Va., police link the Meyers murder to the sniper shootings.

Friday, Oct. 11

-- 53-year-old Kenneth Bridges is shot dead while pumping gas at an Exxon station in Massaponax, Va. A white van was spotted leaving the area. Virginia police caution public not to focus just on white vans.

Saturday, Oct. 12

-- Police release composites images of a white box truck similar to the one witnesses said they saw near some of the shootings.

-- Spotsylvania County, Va., police link Bridges' death to the other shootings.

Monday, Oct. 14

-- Baltimore, Md., police seize a white van in Baltimore and find an assault rifle, sniper manual and ammunition similar to the .223 bullets used in sniper attacks. The van's owner, an ex-Marine, is questioned and released.

-- Linda Franklin, 47, is shot dead as she and her husband load packages into their car outside a Home Depot store in Falls Church, Va. Witnesses give information about license plates on vehicles seen fleeing the scene, including a light-colored Chevrolet Astro van with a burned-out taillight. Another witness describes the possible shooter as a dark-skinned man, possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern, in a white van.

Tuesday, Oct. 15

-- Ballistics evidence connects Franklin's death to the sniper.

-- Defense Department announces it will provide military surveillance aircraft in the hunt. Army begins searching its records for people with sniper training.

Wednesday, Oct. 16

-- Witness to Franklin's shooting tells police the shooter used an AK-74 rifle and was of a certain ethnic descent.

-- Police issue a "how-to" list of tips for potential witnesses.

Thursday, Oct. 17

-- Police announce evidence from Home Depot witness is "not credible."

Friday, Oct. 18

-- Police arrested Matthew Dowdy, 37, of Falls Church, Va., for providing false information to authorities. He is arraigned Monday, Oct. 21.

Saturday, Oct. 19

-- A 37-year-old man is shot and critically wounded while leaving a Ponderosa steakhouse with his wife in Ashland, Va. Witnesses say they heard the shot coming from a nearby wooded area. Roadblocks are set up along I-95 in Maryland and Virginia and police search for a white 2000 Chevrolet van with Maryland plates and a ladder rack.

Sunday, Oct. 20

-- Surgeons remove the bullet from the man shot in Ashland and give it to authorities for testing. Sniper task force heads to the scene.

-- Police believe the Beltway Sniper left a note with a telephone number at the Ponderosa scene. Police ask the person who left the message to contact them.

Monday, Oct. 21

-- Police in Virginia surround a white Plymouth Voyager minivan with a roof rack and a phone booth adjoining a gas station in Hanover County, Va. Two men are taken into custody, but later turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service after it is determined they had no role in the shootings.

-- Moose holds news conference and delivers a message: "The message that needs to be delivered is that we are going to respond to a message that we have received... We are preparing a response at this time."

-- Police connect Saturday's Ponderosa shooting to the sniper.

-- Moose sends another message: "The person you called could not hear everything that you said …The audio was unclear and we want to get everything right. Call us back so that we can clearly understand."

Tuesday, Oct. 22

-- Conrad Johnson, a 35-year-old bus driver, is shot in the chest and wounded while on a parked commuter bus in Montgomery County. He dies at the hospital.

-- Reports say a note found at the Ponderosa scene demanded $10 million and warned the killings would continue unless cash was paid by a stated deadline. It also threatened children.

Wednesday Night, Oct. 23

-- Around 7 p.m.: New reports say police are searching the yard of a Tacoma, Wash., home, for ammunition evidence.

-- Investigators comb through John Lee Malvo's student records at Bellingham High School in Bellingham, Wash.

-- Around 7:30 p.m.: Federal law enforcement officials confirm the raid in Tacoma is related to the sniper case.

-- 8:30 p.m.: Seattle police say they are conducting a consentual search that they cannot confirm is part of the sniper case.

-- 11:45 p.m.: Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose holds a press conference and announces an arrest warrant for John Allen Muhammad, also known as John Allen Williams, described as "armed and dangerous." Moose says the man may he be traveling with Malvo.

-- Police issue an alert for a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey plates NDA-21Z Caprice and a white 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity with Maryland plates ZWE-517. Police caution Muhammad is not necessarily the Beltway Sniper.

-- Moose issues his final statement to the sniper, saying, among other things: "You've asked us to say, quote, We have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose, end quote. We understand that hearing us say this is important to."

Thursday, Oct. 24

-- 3:19 a.m.: The sniper task force arrests Muhammad, 42, and Malvo, while they sleep in a car off I-70 in Frederick County, Md. A motorist and an attendant at the rest stop call police at 1 a.m. after they spot the pair sleeping inside one of the cars sought in the sniper investigation. Their car was a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey plates NDA-21Z.

-- Around 5:30 a.m.: Police confirm arrests and say a warrant is being sought to search the vehicle. Reports say a search warrant has been issued in Alabama.

-- 9 a.m.: Montgomery, Ala., police confirm that sniper task force called them on Sunday to see whether a September shooting at a liquor store there is related to the sniper shootings. A caller to the sniper investigation tip line claimed responsibility for both the sniper shootings and the Sept. 21 shooting outside ABC Beverage. Malvo's fingerprint was reportedly found on a gun magazine found at the Alabama crime scene.

-- 9:30 a.m.: Reports say a gun was found in the car in custody and that Muhammad is being charged on a federal gun violation and Malvo as a material witness.

-- 10:30 a.m.: Bellingham, Wash., officials say suspects in custody are working alone and not with an organized group. The officials add that authorities first had contact with Malvo Dec. 18 after noticing "suspicious activity." Malvo said he came to the area to finish high school.

-- Around 11 a.m.: The blue Caprice is towed to Gaithersburg, Md., and described as a "wealth of evidence." Reports say a rifle found in the car shoots .223 caliber bullets.

--11:55 a.m.: Reports say police found a gun, a scope and a tripod in the car as well as a hole in the trunk of the car police suspect was used to point the gun.

-- Authorities confirm that a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle found in Muhammad's car has been linked by ballistics to 11 of the 14 shootings, including one in which no one was injured.

Friday, Oct. 25

-- 10:30 a.m.: Montgomery, Ala., police say they will charge Malvo and Muhammad with capital murder. They say a positive ID was made placing Muhammad at the scene of the Sept. 21 shooting there and will charge Malvo as an adult.

-- A federal search warrant for the Caprice says that Muhammad also went by the names Wayne Weeks and Wayne Weekley. The warrant says that "numerous personal belongings" were found in the car when authorities arrested the men and that belongings indicated the car was being used as a residence.

-- Investigators ask residents of south Camden, N.J., what they know about the two sniper suspects. Authorities are also looking for Nathaniel Osbourne, who co-owns the car in which the suspects were found.