LEAVENWORTH, KS (AP) — A Kansas City-area man charged with randomly shooting into traffic last month on a bridge that connects Kansas and Missouri fired 15 rounds from a handgun before retrieving an AR-15-style rifle from his car and shooting at least 23 more rounds, according to court records.
A criminal affidavit released Friday in the case against 37-year-old Joseph Westrem describes the May 27 shooting that ended with a Fort Leavenworth soldier hitting Westrem with his truck to stop him, The Kansas City Star reported.
The man who started shooting at drivers on a bridge in Leavenworth Wednesday and was stopped by a soldier is now facing multiple charges, including attempted murder.
No one was killed. One person was taken to a hospital after being struck with gunfire.
Westrem, of the Platte County, Missouri, town of Houston Lake, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and other counts, including aggravated child endangerment because children were among those inside the vehicles that came under fire on the Centennial Bridge near Fort Leavenworth.
On May 27, Staff Sergeant Ehran Schooler ducked for cover when the shooting began and then realized he’d been shot a half an inch away from his spine.
Master Sgt. David Royer, who hit Westrem with his truck, told police that he saw Westrem retrieve the gun and “believed the man was actively trying to kill people on the bridge.”
“I knew people’s lives were in danger and I needed to do something,” he said. “My military training kicked in."
Another witness, who was working on the bridge to direct traffic, told police he heard gunfire and began to tell people to drive away as he ran away. The sign he had been using to direct traffic was found by detectives with bullet holes in it.
When a man started shooting at drivers on the Centennial Bridge in Leavenworth, an active duty Fort Leavenworth soldier took action.