His name is Mohammed Pedro Whitaker, so it’s safe to assume he’s a Muslim convert.
GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Police arrested a suspect Thursday in a string of random vehicle shootings on Kansas City-area highways over the past few weeks that have wounded three motorists and frightened many more.
Police Chief Darryl Forte said at a news conference that the suspect is male and lives in Grandview, a suburb south of the city that is home to the Grandview Triangle, where several highways intersect and where at least six of the reported shootings happened.
“We’re here now to basically let people know someone has been apprehended,” an upbeat Forte told reporters at an impromptu news conference about 50 yards from a house where the suspect was taken into custody earlier in the day. “I wanted to make sure the residents and those who travel through Kansas City know they’re safe. They’ve been safe the whole time.”
Investigators could be seen searching the single-story four-plex Thursday night, and a tow truck hauled away a green Dodge Neon that was parked behind house, which is about two blocks from U.S. 49 and south of the Grandview Triangle.
Forte said the Jackson County prosecutor’s office would determine if there is enough evidence to warrant pressing formal charges.
Detectives and analysts started noticing a pattern two weeks ago after reports of random shootings started coming in. Earlier this week, investigators were looking into about 20 reports of shootings, but that number has fluctuated as some reports were cleared and others came in.
Late last week, police said they had connected a dozen shootings to the same person. Forte has said little to this point about how the shootings were linked or what kind of vehicle the suspect drove.
Mohammed Pedro Whitaker has been identified as the alleged Kansas City highway shooter and has been charged with 18 felonies from 9 separate incidents around the city metro region.
Officials gave an update in a press conference on Friday afternoon.