Man taken in custody along I-29 after massive manhunt - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Man taken in custody along I-29 after massive manhunt

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The shootings happened just after 1 p.m. Tuesday on Woodbridge Lane just east of Wornall Road near East Blue Ridge Boulevard. (Josh Marshall/KCTV5 News) The shootings happened just after 1 p.m. Tuesday on Woodbridge Lane just east of Wornall Road near East Blue Ridge Boulevard. (Josh Marshall/KCTV5 News)
Person of interest brought to police headquarters early Wednesday Person of interest brought to police headquarters early Wednesday
Police say this vehicle is missing from the scene. Please call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (8477) if you have any information on this investigation. Police say this vehicle is missing from the scene. Please call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (8477) if you have any information on this investigation.

Police say a man taken into custody early Wednesday is a person of interest in three assaults at a Motel 6 in the Northland, and detectives are expected to question him about a triple homicide in south Kansas City.

Drivers noticed the man walking southbound on Interstate 29 near Northwest 72nd Street. Authorities raced to the scene and detained the man who was taken into custody. He was armed with a gun at the time of his arrest.

"He apparently went down to his knees but then wouldn't follow all the orders, so he was eventually taken to the ground. Just for his safety and our safety, he was taken into custody and handcuffed to the ground," Capt. Christopher Sicoli said.

While police say the man is a person of interest in the Motel 6 assaults, they still have not formally connected the man in those assaults to a shooting in a south Kansas City neighborhood that left three dead and two in critical condition.

Kansas City police spokesman Capt. Tye Grant said that two women and a man were killed. The genders of those injured have not been released, and they are battling for their lives in area hospitals.

Police said the investigation continues to determine if there is any relationship between the motel assaults and the earlier homicides.

While authorities haven't directly connected the Motel 6 assaults with the earlier homicides, KCTV5's own police sources say that they are linked.

KCTV5's Erika Tallan and Josh Collins saw a handful of officers surround the man on I-29 just after midnight. Quickly the number of patrol cars at the scene grew from two to 10. The man, who appeared to be wearing black, was on the ground with the officers surrounding him.

The man was taken from the highway to police headquarters in downtown Kansas City just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Shortly before 6 p.m., police swarmed an area in the Northland just off of Interstate 29 and south of Northwest Barry Road. Police received a call at 3:19 p.m. of an assault at the Motel 6 and were told that someone had physically assaulted three motel guests.

Police sources tell KCTV5 that the suspect wanted in these shootings tried to dump an SUV in the area that had been stolen during the south Kansas City shootings. He then attempted to carjack someone. It is believed that the suspect got into a scuffle with someone while trying to carjack them and then took off on foot.

Chopper5 flew over the scene and spotted the stolen SUV parked in a lot for the restaurant BC Bistro, located only four blocks away from the Motel 6.

The suspect search in the Northland prompted school lockdowns while the shootings in south Kansas City prompted schools to go on lockdown there.

The spree shootings happened just after 1 p.m. Tuesday on Woodbridge Lane just east of Wornall Road near East Blue Ridge Boulevard. Those streets were shut down for hours while police went door-to-door searching for the suspect. Police began re-opening Wornall about 8:30 p.m.

The situation began as a home invasion but quickly escalated when a neighbor saw the suspect and approached him. Investigators don't believe the suspect knew the victims.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found one person dead inside a home and two other people critically wounded.

A short time later, police found two more people dead inside a nearby house. All appeared to have been shot at point-blank range with what is believed to be a shotgun.

With the names of the victims still not released, people have been coming and going from the South Patrol Station, concerned about loved ones from whom they haven't heard. That includes Kathy Hurst and her husband, who got a call from Hurst's brother because her mother-in-law's house is on the edge of an area enclosed in crime scene tape. Her brother called after hearing about the crime spree and getting no answer at home.

"I thought I would just come on over there, saw the (crime) tape so close to the house ... don't know what to think right now," Hurst said.

Hurst said her mother-in-law, Alice, is in her 80s. Her family knows Alice's schedule pretty well and she should have been home right about that time.

A Jaguar was towed from the crime scene just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. The vehicle was reportedly connected to the crime spree.

The shootings rocked the normally quiet neighborhood. Police assured residents that they were safe in their homes, but many stayed inside and were fearful.

"At this point we don't have all of the details but, as usual, be vigilant, be aware, be cautious, be aware of your surroundings," said Sgt. Kari Thompson.

Golfers who were playing at a nearby course were startled and scared when they heard the gunshots.

News of the deadly shootings and subsequent suspect search rippled amongst neighbors in the normally quiet subdivisions.

One woman said she has lived in the area for 50 years and has never seen more than a couple police on her street.

"I think it's so sad. We're all kind of neighbors coming out and pulling together because it's something we don't experience. This is such a quiet neighborhood," Lois Vereecke said.

Vereecke said her son who lives in California even heard the news and called to check in on her.

"I'm sorry and sad. I hate to see anything like this happen," said neighbor Robert Wagner.

Travis Sitzman wasn't home when dozens of police swarmed his neighborhood, but he and his wife were cautious when they returned home.

"We went back together and went through the house of course to make sure no one was in our place, too," he said.

Early on in the afternoon Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker both arrived at the scene to speak with detectives.

In addition to the schools on lockdown in the Northland, schools near the initial crime scenes took precautions.

The Lutheran High School of Kansas City, which is a mile from the crime scenes, kept students indoors as a precaution. School officials asked police if they should go on lockdown but were told that they didn't have to do so. Students who drove themselves to school were allowed to leave at the end of the day. Other students were kept indoors until their parents picked them up.

Center Middle School, which is at 103rd and Wornall, was placed on lockdown at 2:15 p.m. at the behest of police. The lockdown was lifted at 3 p.m. Rockhurst High School was on lockdown for about 15 minutes.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Park Hill School District said that because the police notified them that they are searching for a potentially dangerous person in the area, Park Hill High School, Congress Middle School, the Gerner Family Early Education Center, Renner Elementary, Prairie Point Elementary, the Aquatic Center and the district office were on hold, meaning all exterior doors are locked. The Park Hill schools made all students who were outside the buildings come back inside.

Shortly after 7 p.m. the school district said that all those waiting inside were free to leave, but the schools were advised to keep their doors locked as a precaution.

"It's kind of freaky, but we've learned during our drills to stay calm and just hope the school knows what they're doing to keep us safe," said student Haley Brown.

"I was hoping that when I came to the school they would let me in and they did, they let us in. They were monitoring who came in, though," said Tammy Brown, Haley's mother.

The Zona Rosa shopping center isn't too far away from where police were searching. Property management said they alerted businesses of the situation. They said officers told them that shoppers shouldn't worry, and they didn't believe the suspect was in the area.

The entire Kansas City Police Department is involved in the investigation. Surrounding cities are also offering resources as well as federal and state law enforcement officials.

KCTV5's Jamie Oberg, Betsy Webster, Nathan Vickers and Josh Marshall contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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