Kansas City police probe highway shootings targeting motorists

KANSAS CITY, Missouri Mon Apr 7, 2014 2:58pm EDT

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Investigators in Kansas City are searching for one or more gunmen who have been firing at area motorists over the last month, hitting at least 13 vehicles and injuring three people, police said on Monday.

"We are having a rash of these. It's crazy," said Marisa Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Police Department. "Luckily there have only been three where there have been injuries."

The most recent shooting took place on Sunday night when a driver was shot in the leg while traveling on a highway through Kansas City.

None of the injuries have been life threatening, police said. But they are concerned that the shootings, which have occurred mostly but not only at night, could continue and become more deadly.

"It is alarming to us that there is somebody out there doing this," said Jennifer Dachenhausen, a crime analyst for the Blue Springs Police.

Blue Springs is one of three suburban communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area where three of the 13 shootings have occurred. The other 10 were all in Kansas City, Missouri.

On March 18, a man was shot in the leg while driving at night on a highway that runs from Blue Springs into Kansas City, Dachenhausen said. Police found three bullet holes in his car.

About 30 minutes later, a shooter put two rounds into another vehicle on a different highway that connects the suburb of Lee's Summit, Missouri, with Kansas City, said Lee's Summit Police Sergeant Chris Depue.

On March 29, a driver crossing from Kansas City into the suburb of Leawood, Kansas, in the afternoon thought his tire had blown. But when he pulled over, he found a bullet hole in the side of his car, said Bill Burke, a Leawood Police detective.

The driver described seeing a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and ski mask driving near him in a green sedan, Burke said.

Detectives are awaiting the results of ballistics tests and gathering other information to determine if the string of shootings, which started March 8, are connected.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Grebler)

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