Police Chief Forté: 12 highway shooting cases connected - KCTV5

UPDATE

Police Chief Forté: 12 highway shooting cases connected

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Detectives say they are tracking down at least 75 tips that have come into the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline regarding the highway shootings.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté announced that one shooting incident has been removed from the list of 20 highway shootings. He said that specific case was a road rage incident and isn't connected to the other shootings.

Despite the removal of the one case, Forté said officials are up to 12 confirmed cases that are linked. He said that, even though they don't have a suspect in custody yet, he doesn't want this to cause a frenzy.

"Kansas City is still safe. I talked to my mom this morning. She lives within a couple of miles of the Three Trails Crossing. I've told her over and over it's a safe place. And she wasn't even worried about it anyway," Forté said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has 20 federal agents assigned to the case. They're using ballistics dogs to search for evidence that includes shell casings. Several departments from both sides of the state line are working together.

"If somebody continues this, it's just a matter of time before someone is injured or killed," Forté said. "We are all concerned about this and we should be."

He said he's pleased with the progress of the investigation and promises authorities will not back off until the person or persons responsible are in custody.

"I am satisfied, but not completely satisfied because we haven't had anyone injured or any more property damage, but we still don't have a suspect in custody," Forté said.

Police also searched an area just east of College Boulevard and Roe Avenue in Leawood, KS, Thursday because one of the stray bullets from the shooter hit a nearby home.

Police announced Monday a pattern in which cars have been fired at on area highways and roads. The majority were in Kansas City, but others took place in Blue Springs, Lee's Summit and Leawood. Three people have been hit with bullets, and their injuries were not life-threatening.

For the first time authorities say they're no longer focusing on incidents just since early March. They are also investigating if cases dating back more than a year could be connected and, depending on what they find, they may need to go back further.

"Investigators are not releasing any suspect or suspect vehicle information because they do not want to provide misinformation, nor do they want the public to focus too closely on a specific type of vehicle or person. Investigators do not want to rule out any possibilities," police said in a written release.

No new similar shootings have taken place since April 6. Police said they are increasing their presence in the areas of the shootings, and ask drivers to remain vigilant.

The reward for information leading to an arrest in the incidents has increased to up to $10,000, due to additional funds from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the ATF.

"We've gotten a lot of tips, but we need more tips. It's not going to be solved from just technology and things like that. We need the human intelligence piece, that's what it's going to be key," Forté said. "One call could be the call, so we're just asking anyone to keep calling in."

He said he understands motorists' concerns, but believes the investigation is moving forwards and everyone will get the results they're hoping for.

"I am confident this will be solved. I am confident this will be solved," he said.

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