In Pursuit

In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers by [Reichenbaugh, David]THE BOOK: In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers


THE AUTHOR: David Reichenbaugh

THE EDITOR: James Morgan

THE PUBLISHER: University Press of New England Fore Edge Books

SUMMARY: In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers is the true story of the investigation and capture of the beltway snipers. In October 2002, just a little more than a year removed from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) were paralyzed by John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, who over the course of twenty three days, were randomly choosing innocent unsuspecting civilian targets and ruthlessly gunning them down as they went about their normal day. The terror and uncertainty caused by the snipers brought the National Capitol Region to a standstill. Was this the work of an organized terrorist group? Was the nation under attack again with the goal of making American citizens fear for their own safety and the safety of their children? Were the police and the government rendered powerless to protect its own citizens from being shot and killed? Was this a direct attack on the American way of life?

David ReichenbaughThe Beltway Sniper investigation was the largest and most intense police investigation in American law enforcement history. More than 1000 police officers from Federal, State, City, County, and local police agencies joined forces to hunt the snipers down and bring their blood thirsty reign of terror to an end.

In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers takes the reader, for the first time, inside the police investigation thru the eyes of the author who was serving as the Operations Commander for the intelligence arm of the Sniper Murder Task Force. The reader will learn the true story how this investigation was conducted and how the police pieced together thousands of tips and leads sorting thru evidence collected and attempting to make sense of senseless acts. Working around the clock, and developing techniques that had never been tried before, while under intense pressure from the public to the White House, the team was finally able to identify the snipers.

Written thru the perspective of the author who entered the investigation after the first shots were fired, and who found himself in command of their capture when the killers were spotted in a Rest Area on Old South Mountain in Myersville Maryland, just off of Interstate I-70. The author details the investigation to include his personal thought process as he and his team worked around the clock to bring the killings to a stop. He discloses the human side of law enforcement, opening up about his own personal fears for his own family as well as the safety of the State Troopers under his command as the journey took him from the fear of the unknown to the intensity of the night the killers were finally cornered and ultimately brought to justice.

THE BACK STORY: There have been several books, documentaries, and one movie produced since the reign of terror caused by the beltway snipers in 2002. None of those productions has been close to accurate in capturing the way the investigation was conducted or how the snipers were tracked down. Since this was a significant investigation and the most intense man hunt in American law enforcement history, I felt that it was important to write the true story capturing the events, the magnitude of the investigation, the intensity of the more than 1000 law enforcement officers who worked the case, and how it affected both the citizens and the law men, in a historically accurate and detailed way. Since I am one of only a handful of law men that worked the investigation from the first day and the only one of that handful that was involved in their capture, I felt compelled to write the story. The need became evident when Trooper Rich Poffenberger, the K-9 officer who was with me the night they were captured suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I realized the true story dies with the few of us who were there and would be lost forever to history.

At the conclusion of the investigation I was interviewed by NYT bestselling true crime author, Joseph Wambaugh. At that time, I could not disclose certain details required for an accurate book in order to protect the integrity of pending trials and any subsequent appeals. Encouraged by Joe Wambaugh to write the compelling story when the time was right, I waited 12 years before I began writing the book. I spent the better part of 4 years writing In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers and going thru the writing, editing, and publishing process learning as I went along.

WHY THIS TITLE?: A great deal of thought was put into the title In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. For 23 days the snipers terrorized the Washington DC Metro area, killing randomly and without reason. For 23 days close to 1000 law men pursued the killers 24 hours a day fighting fatigue and their own fears not giving up until they were identified and brought to justice ending their killing spree that terrorized the region, the country and had the attention of the world.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Those interested in true American history will be drawn to this book for its historical perspective. Readers who love true crime will be drawn to this book and enjoy the investigative detail and the emotions of the author who played a key role in this investigation from the first day, to being in command of their arrest. I place the reader into my shoes and my mind as the investigation unfolded.


“One thousand law enforcers joined the baffling, nerve-racking manhunt for the Beltway Snipers whose murderous reign of terror left seventeen dead and ten wounded, panicking two states as well as our nation’s capital. Told by a State Trooper who was there right to the end during those chilling bloody weeks of October 2002” — Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Onion Field and the Choir Boys.

“Reichenbaugh brings the reader behind the scenes and into the world of the investigators struggling to catch the killers before yet another person dies.” — Maureen Boyle, author of Shallow Graves

AUTHOR PROFILE: I am a high energy, take charge, class A personality who has always worked hard and played hard.

My passion for law enforcement started at a very early age when a Pennsylvania State Trooper walked into my third-grade class to teach the students how to get off the school bus in an emergency. I told my mother that day that I was going to be a State Trooper. My career ambition never wavered.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I retired after 23 years’ service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. My career started as a road Trooper and continued as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high-profile case investigator. After retirement I have continued my career in law enforcement and am employed as a civilian analysist and adviser with the United States Capitol Police.

In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers is my first book and I have a desire to continue to write true crime and crime stories based upon true events. With a wealth of law enforcement experience, I feel that I have many stories to write based on my multi-faceted career. I also contribute to Homeland Security Today with law enforcement articles and insights. I enjoy writing from our family home in Keedysville Maryland with my wife and surrounded by our 8 grandchildren.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: There has been a significant increase in attacks on police resulting in an increasing and unacceptable rate of line of duty deaths over the past couple of years. Every loss no matter where the fallen served is felt by every active police officer and every one of us who has ever worn a badge. We think of ourselves as family and the loss of any of our brothers and sisters is deeply felt by all of us.

As I travel around to book events and book fairs, I am constantly asked why would anybody want to be a police officer? That is not an easy question to answer. In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers, in addition to detailing this massive investigation for the first time, attempts to answer that question. I take the reader into my mind to show the passion and personal commitment all of us who wear a badge must possess.


IT WAS NOW about 10:30 p.m. The initial flyers had been distributed. Before going home, I called the Frederick Barrack duty officer and spoke to Sergeant Hundertmark, whom I had known for many years. He was a highly respected sergeant who took good care of the troopers under his command. I also knew that whatever I asked him to do would be done immediately and without question. He was the kind of sergeant that I’d been lucky enough to work for as a young trooper. He knew what he was doing, stood behind his troopers, knew how to lead, and most importantly gave a damn. He understood that what we do matters.

I told him I was about to start driving north toward Frederick carrying 100 flyers, and asked that he have a trooper meet me around the Francis Scott Key Mall, just off I-270, so I could pass them along for further distribution. FSK mall was in an area known as Evergreen Point, and I lived just a few minutes’ drive from there. I instructed Hundertmark to make sure additional flyers were made and sent to all the barracks north and west. I also wanted him to make sure the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department got copies for all their deputies, and that copies were also distributed to the Frederick City Police Department. I still had it in the back of my mind that these guys were staying in Frederick County.

My next call was to my old friend Lt. Chase from Frederick City. I told him about the information and the flyer, and let him know that I was on my way north to make sure that everybody had a copy. I repeated my thought that the killers were in the Frederick area somewhere. “Make sure your cops are on their toes, Tom. I know these bastards are hiding in plain sight in our backyard.”

“I’ll make sure our guys are looking behind every building, dumpster, and rock in Frederick,” he said. “If these fuckers are up here, we’ll find them.”

“Tell the boys to take zero chances and to do whatever they need to do to get home in one piece to their families. If that means shoot first, then kill the bastards on the spot.”

There really was no need for further discussion or conversation. We knew what was needed, and we both knew the killers were in our area. It made sense to both of us old cops. I could feel it in my bones.

I pulled out of the Rockville Barrack and headed north to Frederick County. It was about a 30-mile ride to the FSK mall exit where I was to meet the Frederick Barrack trooper. I was in car 662, ironically an unmarked blue Chevrolet Caprice that had a lot of wear and tear. It was fast approaching 200,000 miles. My Caprice wasn’t as dark a blue as the one we were looking for, but the coincidence was a little creepy. Their car represented evil and terror, mine represented justice.

I had driven about five miles up I-270 when I heard the first BOLO going out over the Rockville Barrack channel to all cars. I knew this pissed off the FBI command, but they just needed to get over it. As I came close to crossing into Frederick County, I switched the police radio to the Frederick Barrack channel and announced my presence in the county – something we were required to do. “Car 662 Frederick, I am 10-8 [in service] in the county.”

There were a few seconds of radio static, then the barrack police communications officer acknowledged my message. “Car 662, be advised that car B-12 (Frederick Barrack cars were assigned the letter B followed by a numerical identifier) will be waiting in the Sears parking lot,” she said.

“Copy that,” I responded, and replaced the radio mike.

In less than 30 seconds, the radio came alive again. This time, it was Sergeant Hundertmark speaking. “Frederick car 662, can you switch over to the secure channel and contact me immediately?”

Something was up. Something serious. Sgt. Hundertmark had been around the MSP for a long time. He had experienced plenty in his career, and he wasn’t

one for theatrics or for inappropriate use of secure lines; he wouldn’t ask me to go to the secure channel to ask how Jean and the kids were doing.

I switched over to channel one. The channel wasn’t totally secure but was a frequency that had never been publicly assigned. Few people would have known to be listening to it on scanners. It was also unlikely that anybody from the press would be listening to channel one in Frederick County. After all, they were all concentrating on Montgomery County south.

“Car 662 Frederick. Go ahead on channel one.”

Hundertmark immediately responded. “Car 662, we just received a cell phone call from a citizen in the westbound rest area on I-70. The caller advised that there is a Caprice in the rest area parking lot, and then repeated the tag that we had put out over the air.”

I think my heart stopped beating for a millisecond before the adrenaline started rushing in. After so many days of not knowing, of searching, often without a trace of a clue, here was a possible sighting.

“Sergeant, how many troopers do you have at your disposal?” I asked.

“I have two right now, but I can get one or two more out of Hagerstown.”

Not exactly the cavalry, I thought. I sucked in my breath. “Send everybody you’ve got. Have them meet me at the entrance to the rest area. Notify the MSP

command staff – I’ll handle notifying the JOC. And tell them to respond silent. I don’t want to risk alerting these guys.”

“Just so you know,” Hundertmark said, “I put out the first broadcast and BOLO for the Caprice less than five minutes before this call came in.”

No sleep for me tonight either. But unlike last night, this night was about to get a hell of a lot more interesting.

LOCAL OUTLETS: In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers can be found at Barnes & Noble and many Independent Book Stores.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers can also be found and purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound

PRICE: The retail price for the book is $19.95. The online price and electronic price vary.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Web Page: :Facebook David Reichenbaugh Author : Linkedin: and email

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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