Kansas City police chief: Highway shooter suspect in custodyPosted: Updated:
To the great relief of area drivers, Kansas City police Chief Darryl Forte proclaimed they have the highway shooter suspect in custody.
"We wanted to make sure the residents and those that travel through Kansas City know that they're safe. They've been safe the whole time if you've paid attention," he said during a Thursday evening news conference.
Sources tell KCTV5 investigators recovered a significant amount of evidence including shell casings near 103rd Street and Grandview Road. KCTV5 saw investigators spend a couple of days in that area.
The evidence there helped investigators identify a possible suspect. Sources tell KCTV5 that police had their eyes on the suspect for several days, possibly even a week. A week ago Forte announced he was confident authorities would catch the shooter.
On Thursday evening police swarmed a home at 136th and Spring streets in Grandview, MO, a suburb south of the city that is home to Three Trails Crossing, where several highways intersect and where at least six of the reported shootings happened. Sources tell KCTV5 it's the home of the suspected shooter.
Police executed a search warrant at the four-plex where the man lives. They also towed away a green Dodge Neon with an Illinois license plate.
Forte would not name the man they took into custody because he said charges haven't been filed against him. Forte said officers will present the case file to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker on Friday. Under Missouri law, someone has to be charged within 24 hours of being arrested unless they can be held on other charges, such as parole violation.
Residents in the area say they had been on edge having to drive in the Three Trails Crossing and now they're thunderstruck to learn the suspected shooter was in their very midst.
"It's scary. I have kids that play on the street here. I drive up and down this street all the time. It's scary having someone this close," Margo Bridgeman said.
"It's really scary because I've been scared driving around," Melissa Mitchell said.
Most drivers KCTV5 spoke to hadn't heard the news of an arrest yet, but when they did, they felt a huge wave of relief.
"I think I can breathe a little bit easier," said Marisol Sanchez.
Sanchez had feared for her children's lives since hearing the news of someone shooting at drivers. She said she's even driven several miles out of her way on her trip to and from work.
"We've been trying to avoid the triangle. It's actually been really nerve-wracking," she said.
She and other drivers said they feel a lot better knowing a suspect has been taken into custody.
"Everybody is talking about the shooter and now it's good that they have caught him in a short time," said Bader Qureini, the manager of a gas station.
Some KCTV5 viewers said they wouldn't feel completely relieved until they had more assurances from Baker that the right person was in custody and details of the evidence against the accused.
Police announced last week that they have positively linked 12 shooting incidents that have taken place on roadways in Kansas City, MO, Blue Springs, Lee's Summit and Leawood. The first reported shootings occurred the night of March 8.
Three people have been hit with bullets, but their injuries weren't serious.
No new shooting incidents have taken place since April 6.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said they are investigating damage to a vehicle that happened on April 3 at 7 a.m. that may be related to the other recent highway shootings.
Troopers said a vehicle was damaged on Interstate 470 near Lakewood Boulevard. The driver was not hurt, but there was damage to his car. Police haven't said whether that damage was done by a bullet or a rock or other highway debris.
Investigators had refrained from releasing any suspect or suspect vehicle information because they said they did not want to provide misinformation, nor did they want the public to focus too closely on a specific type of vehicle or person. Investigators did not want to rule out any possibilities.
Officers continued to provide an increased presence in the areas of the shootings but have always reminded motorists to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity by calling 911.
Forte said police will provide information in a more comprehensive news conference on Friday. He spoke highly of the national and municipal jurisdictions and how well they all stepped up and contributed resources.
"I can't say enough about the people in this community. Without the people in this community we wouldn't be where we are and I'm asking the people in this community to continue to do that, not just on a case like this, but step up. This would be a lot better place if we have people step up like they did in the past two weeks," he said.
Forte tweeted earlier this week that there's nothing that links the highway shootings to the Sunday shootings at the Jewish-related sites that killed three.
Watch Friday's news conference on KCTV5.com. Sign up for our breaking news alerts and mobile push alerts so you'll immediately know when it's held.
KCTV5's Jonathan Carter, Nathan Vickers and DeAnn Smith contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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