Man accused of highway shootings claims innocence

In this photo provided by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department is 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview, Mo. Authorities said Friday, April 18, 2014 that Whitaker has been charged with 18 felony counts in connection with about a dozen recent highway shootings that have wounded three people. (AP Photo/Kansas City Police Department)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man charged with 10 shootings along Kansas City-area highways earlier this year says he is innocent and he has the evidence to prove it.

Mohammed Whitaker is basing the claim largely on one piece of evidence that tracked which cellphone towers handled calls from his phone on April 2, the day of the sixth shooting, according to The Kansas City Star ( ). The newspaper reported Whitaker had called the paper at least eight times in recent weeks from the Jackson County jail to press his claims.

Whitaker, 28, is charged with 20 felony counts stemming from 10 shooting incidents in March and April. Whitaker contends that if the 5:30 p.m. time listed on a police report for the shooting near Grandview is correct, he could not have been in the area.

Police and prosecutors would not discuss the April 2 incident or Whitaker’s claims. His attorney also declined to comment, the newspaper said.

“We save our comments for the courtroom where we await Mr. Whitaker,” said Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor’s office.

The records place his phone about nine miles from the shooting just six minutes before it reportedly happened. Whitaker said he could not have covered that route during rush hour traffic as he headed home from work in Overland Park, Kansas.

However, the police report said the shooting victim said his truck was hit by a bullet “approximately” April 2 at “approximately” 5:30 p.m. The victim was not hurt.

Whitaker told the newspaper he had received enough paperwork through the discovery process to fill two bank boxes. When The Star asked him to share more, he sent only 11 pages, which included three pages of cellphone mapping data.

He said he had been a victim of the highway shooter but didn’t report it because he was driving on a revoked license.

“I was wrongfully accused of being the highway shooter,” Whitaker said. “I am actually an unreported victim. The detectives definitely jumped to conclusions . The real highway shooter is still out there.”


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