Man charged in two KC murders and is a suspect in three murders on Indian Creek trail
The 22-year-old man suspected of shooting five middle-aged white men since last year — including four on south Kansas City walking trails — threatened in 2014 to shoot up a school and “kill all white people,” according to court records.
Fredrick Demond Scott, who was charged Tuesday in two killings and named as a suspect in three more, made those statements in January 2014 at Center Alternative School, as documented in a municipal citation for harassment.
Scott, who is black, has been charged with murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, 57, and John Palmer, 54. On Tuesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced those charges, also naming Scott as a suspect in the killings of David Lenox, 67; Timothy S. Rice, 57, of Excelsior Springs; and Mike Darby, 61, co-owner of Coach’s Bar & Grill at 103rd Street and Wornall Road.
All five were white men between ages 54 and 67. All five were fatally shot, most from behind, in surprise attacks as they walked dogs, visited parks and, in one case, walked down a city street.
Scott’s mother said in an interview with The Star that he refused to get treatment for his paranoid schizophrenia but did not show any hatred toward white people. Scott was cited in Kansas City municipal court in 2013 for assault on his mother, accused of shoving her several times. She called police, hoping tough love would help him, she said.
“As far as I know Fredrick never had a problem with white people,” his mother said. “He would do odd jobs for people and some of those people were white men.”
Police said they did not know if the shootings were racially motivated.
Baker has said she saw no clear motive.
The trail victims were targeted when they were alone in an area Scott knew well, near his home.
After his arrest earlier this month, Scott repeatedly told detectives that he was angry about the 2015 shooting death of his half brother on his father’s side, Gerrod H. Woods, 23. Woods was one of two men fatally shot Dec. 14, 2015 during a robbery near East 73rd Street and Wabash Avenue. On Friday, the man convicted in those killings, Jimmie Verge, who is black, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
A co-worker of Scott’s at a south Kansas City Burger King said Scott appeared to be severely damaged by his brother’s death.
If Scott is responsible for all five deaths, as Baker suggested, he would meet the FBI’s standard of a serial killer.
Law enforcement officials close to the investigation described Scott as a loner, saying detectives had struggled to find many people who knew him well.
He had been in trouble with the law before, but not for anything close to murder.
The Jan. 21, 2014, threats at Center Alternative School were the most alarming example. A city citation for harassment quoted Scott as stating: “I want to shoot the school up, Columbine-style.”
He also said he wanted to kill himself and “kill all white people,” according to the report.
He was sentenced to 180 days in jail but the sentence was suspended and he was given probation. Scott was ordered to stay away from the school. “Intense” supervision was ordered.
His mother said that she did not recall the incident and said he even went on to graduate from the school.
Police asked his mother about his racial attitudes.
“The detective was asking me that — if I ever dated white men,” the mother said. “No, I’ve never dated white men.”
Last year, he was found guilty of stealing a three-pack of underwear from a Dollar General at 551 E. 99th St.
When he was cited for assault against his mother in 2013, a substance abuse evaluation was ordered.
Earlier this year, he had been ordered to pay $100 restitution for ripping the screens off of two front windows at the home where he lived, on Bridge Manor Drive in south Kansas City.
Police on Wednesday continued to ask the public for clues in the deaths. Anyone who had contact with Scott, who is in the Jackson County Jail on $500,000 bond, may have important information without even realizing it, they said. They asked anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
“We are working hard,” police Capt. Stacey Graves said Wednesday. “We have a person who has been charged with two homicides and is also a subject of interest in the other three. We hope this brings some type of relief to our community, knowing that we are hard at work.”
In some ways, the reason behind the killings remains a mystery as much to Baker as to Scott’s former co-worker, one of the few people who have publicly said they know Scott.
The morning after Scott’s charges were announced, the former co-worker at the Burger King at Red Bridge and Holmes roads had not heard of his connection to the trail murders.
“Wow,” she said, visibly shaken at the news. “I’d just seen this kid here the other day … wow. Jesus Christ.”
Scott had worked at the Burger King on at least two occasions over a year ago, but had regularly visited the restaurant during the past year, the co-worker said.
The co-worker said she knew Scott was distraught over his brother’s murder when he went to the Burger King in search of a job in summer 2016.
“He felt like his brother was the only person who loved him,” the co-worker said. “It really damaged him.”