BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Charles Moose, the former Montgomery County Police Chief who lead the massive investigation into the Beltway Sniper attacks that terrorized the Washington, D.C. region in 2002, died Thursday, the department announced.

The 68-year-old died at his home, his wife told the department. Moose served Montgomery County from 1999 to 2003.

“We are extremely saddened by the news announcing the passing of former Chief Charles Moose,” said Chief Marcus Jones. “He was a great leader and led our department through the DC Sniper investigation, one of the most difficult crime sprees in our country’s history. We send condolences to his wife Sandy and all of his family and friends.”
Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 19, and his mentor John Allen Muhammad, who was 41, shot people as they pumped gas, loaded packages into their cars and went about their everyday business in the Washington, D.C. region during a three-week period in 2002.
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On Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002, a man was shot and killed while crossing a parking lot in Wheaton, Maryland.  The next day, four people were shot and killed in Montgomery County and another person was fatally shot in Washington. Muhammad and Malvo’s last victim was a bus driver in Aspen Hill on Oct. 22, according to an FBI record.

Moose lead the investigation in collaboration with the FBI and multiple other law enforcement agencies. The snipers were arrested on Oct. 24.

“We have not given in to the terror,” Moose said after the arrests, according to The Washington Post. “Yes, we’ve all experienced anxiety. But in the end, resiliency has won out.”

Ten people were killed during the shooting spree, including FBI analyst Linda Franklin, who was killed near Falls Church, Virginia, according to the FBI file. Three others were injured.

The 1990 Chevy Caprice Muhammad and Malvo drove was spotted at a rest stop off I-70 in Maryland. Authorities recovered a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle and scope from the vehicle. According to the FBI file, the backseat of the car had been removed so the shooter could access the trunk from inside the car.

Before joining the Montgomery County department, Moose was the chief of police in Portland, Oregon from 1993 to 1999, according to CBS affiliate KOIN. He was the first African-American to lead the department.

Moose resigned from the Montgomery County Police Department in 2003 after a county ethics commission ordered him not to write a book on the sniper case.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan made Moose’s three-sentence resignation letter public, according to The Washington Post. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work for you and with you in this beautiful county,” the chief wrote.

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Duncan told the paper he was saddened by Moose’s departure.

“We both agreed it was the right decision, but it was with tremendous regret that it had to come to this,” he said. “I understood and respected his decision. It lets him move on.”

Walter Bader, the president of the county’s Fraternal Order of Police, told the Associated Press, “He had created a situation where he had to make a choice between writing the book and doing the job.”

 “Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt For the Serial Sniper,” co-written with Charles Fleming, was released on Sept. 15, 2003. Moose dedicated the book to his wife, Sandy. 

“It is the story of how a rookie police recruit with no plans to become a police officer became the head of the largest single manhunt in American police history,” Moose said in a preface to the book. “It is the story of how I went from being lionized for helping bring the snipers to justice to being vilified for writing a book about it.”

In 2006, Moose and his wife moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he became a member of the police department. Because the department didn’t allow for lateral transfers at the time, Moose, who was 53 at the time,  joined as a new recruit and had to go through training again.

“The physical part was very challenging, but I actually got better,” Moose told the Associated Press at the time. “So the training actually works. It got an old guy into shape.”

The Gazette, a community newspaper in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, reported in 2010 Moose was no longer employed by the Honolulu department.

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CBS Baltimore Staff