KANSAS CITY: Muslim suspect charged with 18 felony counts related to 9 incidents of highway shootings

Mohammed Whitaker, a Muslim convert, was charged with 18 felony counts related to 9 incidents. Two counts are “A” felonies alleging he shot someone by firing into a motor vehicle. Seven are “B” felonies alleging he fired into a motor vehicle. The other nine counts accuse him of armed criminal action. More charges may be added, prosecutors said.

Mohammed Whitaker
Mohammed Whitaker

KansasCity  (h/t Frank H) A series of at least 12 shootings started in early March. The latest shooting linked to the pattern occurred April 6. Three victims were wounded in the spree.

Most of the shootings occurred in Kansas City, with most in or near the Three Trails Crossing. Authorities said they knew of no motive, they believe Whitaker acted alone and that he had little criminal record. Whitaker was arrested Thursday night after police raided a Grandview residence.

Tactical officers towed away a green Dodge Neon with Illinois license plates. The plates were registered to the suspect’s father, who said he was shocked by the developments. “I thought everything was okay with him,” his father said. “I just thought he was working and trying to pay off his college bills.”

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His father said he recently paid for the Illinois license plates, which belonged to his white Buick that he gave to his son. But the Buick had transmission problems, so his son began driving a different car recently. His son apparently moved the plates from the Buick to the Dodge Neon.

His son last called him April 7 to ask for money to get him through until his payday. The father sent him $50. The suspect worked at a medical supply company in Overland Park in sales, his father said. The suspect had dropped out of a technical college, where he was studying bio-medical equipment repair, his father thought.

“To my knowledge, he’s never fired a gun” the father said. “I’m totally shocked by all this.” The father had heard of the shootings in Kansas City, but “never had a dream or clue he could be involved in something like that.”

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CNN  The shootings began March 8, and at least 12 of them are connected, police said. Some motorists weren’t even aware shots had been fired at their vehicles.

Jennie Baugher was driving along U.S. 71 when she heard something strike her car. “I thought a big rock hit us,” said the married mother of two from Roeland Park, Kansas. “My husband saw it the next day. Immediately when he told me that there was a hole in my car, I realized a bullet hit my car.”

The first shooting victim, Tom McFarlin, said he thinks the shots came from a moving car on one of the ramps or overpasses.  When he took his car to mechanics a few days later, they discovered not one, but two bullets. The second one was lodged in the undercarriage.

Both cars were hit in the rear on the passenger’s side. The bullets lodged in metal and did not make it inside. In McFarlin’s case, had the bullet made its way through the metal, anyone sitting in the passenger’s seat would have been hit.

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