April 18, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The message Friday was clear. Law enforcement agencies working together on the recent string of highway shootings would not have been able to act as quickly as they did without the community’s help.
At a press conference, Kansas City, Mo., Police chief Darryl Forté — joined by Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Mayor Sly James, FBI and ATF officials and area law enforcement — thanked the community for the information submitted through the TIPS hotline that allowed them to apprehend the man that was terrorizing Kansas City roadways.
Mohammed Whitaker, 27, whose last reported address is listed as 6001 E. 136th St., Grandview, Mo., was charged Friday with 18 felony counts related to 12 incidents where a gun was fired at a motor vehicle between March 18 – April 6, 2014. Those counts include seven for unlawful use of a weapon, a class B felony; two counts of unlawful use of a weapon that resulted in injury, class A felony; and nine counts of armed criminal action.
According to court records, the 12 incidents occurred on Kansas City area highways. Ballistics tests connected several .380 caliber bullets recovered from those shooting incidents and witness reports of the shooting incidents to a vehicle similar to Whitaker’s. Surveillance of Whitaker in his vehicle found him pacing cars in their blind spots while on the highway. Law enforcement arrested Whitaker on Thursday, April 17. He is currently being held on a $1 million cash only bond.
Baker said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges may still be added. She said there is no evidence to suggest others were involved and that Whitaker had very little of a criminal record. Forté added a motive has not yet been determined.
During the investigation, which Forté noted lasted 10 days, he said there was some information he couldn’t share with the public to avoid jeopardizing the investigation. Since it is ongoing, there is still some information he cannot share, but thanked the community for being vigilant with reporting tips. He said law enforcement has received over 100 leads and counting.
“Without the community’s help, we wouldn’t have had the resources we had,” Forté said.”We’re not done yet.”
He continued to praise the tireless effort of area law enforcement, as well as the assistance provided by the FBI, ATF and Highway Patrol. He even went on to thank the local media. “There was a lot of responsible reporting.”
Mayor James added he was “ridiculously proud” of the effort provided by everyone involved.
“Law enforcement partnerships like this are essential to reducing violence in this city,” James said.
Hizzoner also heaped praise upon the community because of its engagement and understanding that it takes teamwork to stop crimes like this.
“This is a positive example of community working against crime,” James said. “This is the beginning of a new chapter if we all are on the same page. There is less fear today.”