By MARIA SUDEKUM
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — Authorities announced charges Friday against a Kansas City-area man suspected in connection with about a dozen recent highway shootings that have wounded three people.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a news conference that 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview has been charged with 18 felony counts and is being held on $1 million bail. Baker said Whitaker was charged with two counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person, seven counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and nine counts of armed criminal action.
At least six of the shootings occurred near Grandview. The Kansas City suburb is home to an area known as the Grandview Triangle, where three interstates and U.S. 50 intersect.
Other shootings were reported in the Missouri suburbs of Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit and Leawood, Kan. Two of the wounded drivers were shot in the leg, and the third was shot in the arm. None of their wounds was considered life-threatening.
The last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported April 6, about a month after the shootings began.
Whitaker was taken into custody Thursday at a home near Interstate 49, one of the highways that intersects at the Grandview Triangle. Police also confiscated a dark green Dodge Neon.
Police began noticing a pattern about two weeks ago after receiving reports of apparently random shootings at vehicles. Earlier this month, investigators were looking into about 20 reports of shootings, but that number has fluctuated. Late last week, police said they had connected a dozen shootings to the same person, but they have said little else about how the shootings were linked or what kind of vehicle the suspect drove.
Police did not say what led them to the suspect, but have said they received more than 100 tips. A reward of up to $10,000 was offered for information leading to an arrest. Police haven’t said if anyone will be claiming the reward money.