Two tipsters net $4,000 each from highway shootings investigation

05/06/2014 10:39 PM

05/06/2014 10:39 PM

Federal authorities paid two tipsters $4,000 each for sharing information that lead to the arrest of Mohammed Whitaker in the highway shootings case, Kansas City police announced Tuesday.

The tipsters called police separately and provided “critical information” to investigators, according to a police press release.

“Community cooperation was integral to solving this case, as it is in so many other things our department does,” Chief Darryl Forté said.

The total reward available was $10,000 — $2,000 from the TIPS Hotline and $8,000 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The federal agencies split the reward money they had offered and paid the tipsters last week. The TIPS Hotline did not pay its portion because the tipsters did not call the hotline.

Last month, Jackson County accused Whitaker in connection with the series of shootings that terrorized motorists and captured national attention. Although police investigated about 20 shootings and had linked 12 to the same gun, prosecutors filed criminal charges in only nine cases. In each of those nine, police had recovered, tested and matched spent .380-caliber bullets.

Prosecutors charged Whitaker, 27, with 18 felonies, alleging that he shot and wounded two motorists and shot at seven other motorists in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit between March 18 and April 6.

All of the shootings occurred on highways or roadways just before road splits, allowing the shooter to veer off in a different direction from the victim. Most of the shootings occurred in the Three Trails Crossing. Authorities have said they know of no motive. They believe Whitaker, who had no criminal record, acted alone.

Evidence began pointing to Whitaker on April 8 after two witnesses reported erratic, road-rage type behavior by a driver of a green car. One witness provided an Illinois license plate that police tracked to Whitaker’s father.

Police began trailing Whitaker April 11 while they finished testing evidence and gathering more information. Police saw Whitaker driving aggressively and stalking potential victims by pacing cars in their blind spots on highways, according to court records.

Police arrested Whitaker April 17 at his Grandview apartment. He remains in jail in lieu of a $1 million bond.

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