October 5, 2009
Emerson Brown, NPR



MILDRED MUHAMMAD TELLS NPR: "The random shootings were to cover up my
murder so that he could come in as the grieving father to regain custody of
the children."


October 5, 2009; Washington, D.C. – In her first national broadcast interview, the ex-wife of D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad says on NPR News' Tell Me More with Michel Martin that she believes she was the ultimate target of his shooting spree. Speaking with host Michel Martin about her ex-husband and her upcoming memoir, Scared Silent, Mildred Muhammad says, "He went from Tacoma all the way over to the East Coast where I lived. I believed that I was the intended target. And the random shootings were to cover up my murder so that he could come in as the grieving father to regain custody of the children."

NPR's News blog "The Two-Way" offers a preview of the interview here: www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/10/dc_snipers_exwife_recalls_horr.html

The entire interview is airing tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6, on Tell Me More, and will be available online at www.NPR.org A complete transcript is available upon request; all excerpts must be credited to "NPR News' Tell Me More."

Asked why she's confident she was her ex-husband's main target, Muhammad says: "I just look at it that you don't know John. The people that know John know that this is something he could do. You are not able to understand or comprehend the level of planning that John does." She goes on to say, "His endgame scenario was to come in as the grieving father, to get the compensation – the victim's compensation because John and I were divorced October the 6th of 2000. So my children would have been considered victims of crime. And they would have received the victim's compensation and he would have drove away. Nobody would have been the wiser. He maybe would have been called the father of the year for coming in as the grieving father."

On why she thinks of her situation as a domestic violence issue, Muhammad says: "He was also in the community so a lot of people knew him as a go-to person. If you needed something from John then you could go to him and he would definitely get it for you. He was a man of his word. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. So when I tried to get help from those same individuals, they looked upon me as if I was the one that was crazy -- or what did I do to him to cause him to behave in this manner. It came to the point where I had to get a restraining order on him and then we set up arrangements for him to see the children."

On her reaction to her ex-husband's arrest, Muhammad states: "I blamed myself for that because I thought maybe I didn't yell loud enough. Maybe I didn't tell enough people. Why didn't they listen to me? That was the one thing I continuously said over and over and over. Why didn't they listen to me?"

As to what may have made a difference, Muhammad says: "I believe what would have made a difference for me is when John came back from Saudi, that he would have been debriefed and he would have received the counseling that he needed to be a more productive person in a non-war zone. That’s what I believe."

All excerpts must be credited to "NPR News." Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo.

Tell Me More with Michel Martin brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio. The daily one-hour program hosted by Michel Martin captures the headlines, issues and pleasures relevant to multicultural life in America. It is a production of NPR News in association with the African American Public Radio Consortium, representing independent public radio stations that serve predominantly black communities. For stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations