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Press conference scheduled in highway shootings arrest

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, April 17, 2014, at 6:16 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, April 18, 2014, at 1:19 p.m.

Kansas City police raided a Grandview residence Thursday afternoon and arrested a man suspected in the series of shootings on area roadways that injured three people and put drivers on edge for nearly two weeks.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté announced the arrest in a late afternoon tweet and said more details will be released at a news conference at 1 today.

Neighbors said several dozen officers, some wearing tactical gear, descended on a fourplex in the 6000 block of East 136th Street about 5:40 p.m. They arrested a man who appeared to be in his 20s.

The residence is just east of Interstate 49 and south of the Three Trails Crossing area where seven shootings occurred.

After arresting the man, police executed a search warrant at the residence. Authorities also towed away a dark green Dodge Neon with an Illinois license plate.

Forté said at a news briefing later Thursday night that he could not provide the man’s name or more details but that he wanted to let people know that an arrest had been made.

“We want to make sure the residents and those who travel through Kansas City know that they are safe,” he said.

He emphasized that no charges had been filed and that the investigation was ongoing. He thanked other local and federal law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation, and he praised the way the community had “stepped up” to help investigators make an arrest.

“Without the people in this community, we wouldn’t be where we are,” the chief said.

Sources said that undercover officers had been following the man since last week after information began pointing to him.

Officers recovered some helpful evidence at 103rd Street and Grandview Road on April 9 after they shut down traffic and scoured the area, including ditches, for shell casings.

Investigators also used technology, plus tips from the public, to home in on the man.

The accumulation of all the information broke the case open, not one single thing, said Capt. Tye Grant, the department’s spokesman.

“We got a lot of tips, and those tips were important,” he said. “It was also incredible work by law enforcement officers. They just didn’t give up. You’ve got a lot of officers who haven’t slept in weeks.”

Investigators put the pieces together “until it led to something,” Grant said.

Neighbors said the man kept to himself and would come and go at odd hours of the night.

“The dude was like a ghost,” said neighbor Kevin Cooksey. “In and out. I’m just glad they got him.”

Cooksey said the man would drive up in the car at night, turn out the lights and sit inside without getting out.

The shooting incidents began March 8, and the last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported on April 6.

Authorities said they had linked 12 shootings. Most occurred in Kansas City, but others were reported in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Leawood. Bullets struck three people but did not cause life-threatening injuries.

Kansas City police have received more than 110 tips related to the shootings. A reward of up to $10,000 was offered for information leading to an arrest. Police did not say Thursday night whether anyone was in line to collect reward money.

Investigators from several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies met daily to share information and discuss updates. But they did not release suspect information because they did not want to provide misinformation or lead the public to focus on a specific type of vehicle or person.

Victims of the shooting expressed relief and gratitude at the news an arrest had been made.

One of the victims, a Lee’s Summit woman whose car was struck on March 31, said it was “great news” to hear that an arrest was made.

“I’ll be pleased as punch if it is the person,” she said.

A man who was shot in the arm while driving on April 4 said the shooter “needs to go to jail for a while.”

“I’m sure glad they caught him, that was the main thing,” he said.

Another victim called it “awesome” news.

“I’m really relieved that nobody else will get hurt,” she said.

A woman who was driving with her 3-year-old daughter near 51st Street and State Line Road when their car was hit by a bullet agreed that she wants the shooter to spend time in jail.

“He deserves everything he gets,” she said.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com. To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com. To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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