Charles Moose, former chief of the Montgomery County Police Department and the voice of law enforcement during the 2002 D.C. sniper attacks, died Nov. 25 at his home. He was 68.
The Montgomery County Police Department announced Moose’s death saying his wife released the information in a Facebook post without giving a cause of death.
Moose’s wife, Sandy, told friends on Facebook that her husband died Thanksgiving night while watching a televised football game.
“We are extremely saddened by the news announcing the passing of former Chief Charles Moose,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones. “He was a great leader and led our department through the D.C. 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.”
Prior to coming to Maryland, Moose served as Portland police chief from 1993 to 1999. During that time he also taught at Portland State University, where he received a doctorate in urban studies and criminology.
“I feel connected to Chief Moose as he was the first African-American chief, a champion of community policing and led the Bureau during challenging times,” current Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell tweeted on Friday. “Chief Moose was a large presence and had a servant’s heart.”
In 1999, Moose become the chief for Montgomery County in Maryland, where he served until 2003. In October of 2002, Moose briefed the media during the three weeks of random shootings in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were finally captured, charged and convicted in the killing of 10 people in a crime spree that extended across the country.
While Moose had a strained relationship with the media, he consented to be part of the 2021 documentary series “I, Sniper,” produced by Arrow Media and released by Vice TV.
“I interviewed Charles Moose at length twice in my life. Once in 2002 in the hectic days right after the D.C. Sniper case had been solved and again in 2017 as part of I, Sniper a six-hour documentary about the case,” said Mary-Jane Mitchell, producer of “I, Sniper.”
“Charles was a fascinating person to speak with and it was evident that he had loved being a police officer and cared very deeply for the community he had been tasked to protect and serve. He told me, ‘it still weighs heavily on my heart that we did not solve the case sooner.’ He had a genuine kindness and empathy and left a lasting impression on my life and the life of countless others I’m sure,” Mitchell said.
“It appeared that he was a compassionate man who cared for the community,” said Allison Prince, a former Montgomery County Public Schools counselor. “It was a frightening time because we didn’t know where the attacks were coming from.”