Charles Moose, Former Police Chief and Face of DC Sniper Manhunt, Dies

In Summary

Charles A. Moose, the man who led the manhunt for snipers who killed nearly a dozen people in D.C. in 2002, has died.

Charles A. Moose, the Montgomery County police chief known for leading a sniper manhunt in the Washington metropolitan area in 2002, died at his Palm Harbor, Florida, home on Nov. 25, per The Washington Post. He was 68. 

A cause of death remains unknown at this time, but Moose’s wife Sandy said in a Facebook post he died while watching football and sitting in his recliner. 

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“He called my name, and I came running but it was too late,” she said. “His body was shutting down.” 

Moose is known for being a leading force during the three-week manhunt in October 2002 for snipers who killed 10 individuals “going about their daily lives,” per CNN. Three additional individuals were also injured by John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who taunted investigators by leaving tarot cards, a handwritten note and even phoning the police in one instance. 

Before going to Maryland, Moose served as the first Black police chief in Portland, Oregon, from 1993 until 1999. Shortly after the manhunt, he resigned from the department due to a dispute over royalties for a book he published about the investigation. 

The Washington Post reported that Chief Moose was lauded in both departments for strengthening relations with minorities and implementing community policing, which involves police officers attempting to form “bonds” with local citizens to reduce crime. 

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“It is indeed an honor for me to serve as chief of this department,” Moose said immediately after being sworn in, per a press release. “Montgomery County has a long, proud tradition of excellence, and I pledge to this community that I will work hard to continue that tradition. Furthermore, I will do my utmost to ensure that this department does more than fight crime. I expect our officers to contribute much more to the improvement of the overall quality of life within our neighborhoods.” 

Former Portland Police Bureau Chief Derrick Foxworth told KGW8 that Moose was an inspiration to his fellow officers, leaving behind a legacy that goes beyond his duties as a police officer. 

“It was hard to learn of his passing, it really was. I look at everything that is here and I know he had a part of it,” he said. “His leadership style, the way that he really strongly believed in it, he personified it. It did change a lot of us. He changed the culture.” 

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ABC7 News reported that Sandy announced that a memorial service will be held in Portland, “where a big piece of our hearts continue to reside,” on Aug. 11, 2022. Her husband, who would’ve been celebrating his 69th birthday, will be buried in a veterans’ cemetery immediately after.

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