The Kansas City Highway shooting suspect arrested Thursday was charged with 18 felonies from nine of the 12 shootings that police say are linked by solid evidence, but though they said the investigation into the month-long shooting campaign remains open, they also said that 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker had no accomplices, and acted alone in the shooting spree that stretched from March 8 to April 7.
“We wanted to make sure the residents and those that travel through Kansas City know that they’re safe,” said Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte.
Three people were injured, though none seriously, by the Kansas City highway shootings. Whitaker was charged in connection with two of those injuries.
Kansas City investigators first realized they had a single suspect connected to multiple shootings on April 7 when a forensic analyst noted similarities in a series of shootings dating back to early March.
Little is known about the highway shooting suspect Mohammed Whitaker. Police wold only offer that he has no significant criminal history. The license plates on his Dodge Neon automobile that police impounded Thursday were from Illinois, but that lead has opened up another puzzle.
The plates were registered to a person named Edward Whitaker, an Illinois resident. An enterprising Kansas City TV reporter phoned Edward Whitaker, who said that plates were registered for a four-door Buick, not a Dodge Neon.
Edward Whitaker also told the reporter from Kansas City station KCTV that he was not aware of any family members living in the Kansas City area.
Mohammed Whitaker lives in the Kansas City suburb of Grandview, which is where six of the shootings took place in an area of highway known as the Grandview Triangle. Police reportedly had Whitaker under surveillance for several days and moved in on his house with a SWAT team Thursday afternoon.
Witness statements and tips, including important information from one of the victims who was struck by a bullet allegedly fired by Whitaker, led police to zero in on Whitaker as their sole suspect in the Kansas City Highway shooting case, according to prosecutor Peters Baker.
Whitaker is being held on $1 million bond.
The arrest of a suspect in the highway shooting case eased the jangled nerves of Kansas City residents, who didn’t know if they would be next on the list victims every time they got into a car.
“I’m so pleased tonight might be a night to sleep. It’s been so many nights without that for us,” said Baker, who will prosecute the Kansas City highway shooting case in Jackson County, Missouri. Whitaker could face separate prosecutions in other counties and in Kansas.