Suspected highway shooter nabbed in Kansas City

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, April 18, 2014

Police in Kansas City have arrested and charged a suspect they say is responsible for multiple highway shootings that kept the metro area on edge for weeks.

On Thursday, April 18, police and federal agents raided a home in Grandview, Mo., on Kansas City’s southeast side, where they made the arrest.

Jackson County, Mo., Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that Mohammed Pedro Whitaker, 27, faces 18 felony charges at this time including nine Class A charges related to shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person. Each charge is paired with a charge of armed criminal action, Peters Baker stated during a press briefing on Friday.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte said investigators handled more than 100 leads starting with the first reported incident on March 8 through the most recent reported shooting on April 6.

Most of the shootings – estimated between 13 and 20 – occurred in the evening or at night, with the majority occurring at the junction of Interstate 435, I-470 and U.S. Highway 71 – an area known to metro residents as the Grandview Triangle.

Three people had been hit by bullets, but their injuries were not deemed serious. Highway shootings occurred at a few other locations as well.

“Charges would not be filed if we weren’t confident we had the person responsible for these shootings,” Peters Baker said of Whitaker during the press briefing.

Forte said area police departments, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives caught a break when analysts were able to link multiple shootings.

“Within 10 days of our first formal briefing, we had someone in custody,” Forte said.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said tips from the public aided in the investigation, but he would not elaborate on any specific tips.

Peters Baker said tips and a team effort by law enforcement helped break the case.

Forte said police do not have a motive for the shootings at this time.

Investigators closed portions of highways as incidents were reported so they could search for and retrieve bullet casings.

Police did not provide specific details Friday about what police found during the raid on the Grandview residence, but said more information would be available in the charging documents against Whitaker.

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