Police have linked several apparently random shootings in the past month targeting vehicles on area roads and highways, but they didn't say Wednesday how many are connected or how they came to that conclusion.
Inconsistent statements by witnesses and the possibility that some of the incidents were isolated cases of road rage have made it difficult to pin down an exact number of vehicles involved, Kansas City, police said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. Investigators also are not releasing information on suspect vehicles.
On Monday, the police department announced that 13 shootings had happened since March 8, with three of the victims receiving gunshot wounds not considered life-threatening.
One incident on March 18 injured a Blue Springs man who was shot in the leg as he traveled west on Interstate 70 at Woods Chapel Road.
That same evening, a driver on Interstate 470 near Colbern Road in Lee’s Summit was shot at. Police investigators found a bullet hole in the man’s car. That driveer was not injured.
The most recent shooting was Sunday, when a 57-year-old Blue Springs man was driving east on I- 470 when he heard two large bangs and thought he had run over something. About that time he also felt what he thought was a charley horse in his left leg, but when he put his hand down he found blood, pulled over and called 911.
The man had been shot in the calf, and officers found three bullet holes in the driver's side of his car.
One other driver was shot in the leg, while the third was shot in the arm, police said.
"This isn't the first time I've heard of a random shooting reported, but as far as several of them possibly being linked, I can't think of another situation that has occurred in the Kansas City area," said KC Police Capt. Tye Grant.
Most of the shootings were in the Grandview Triangle, where three interstate highways and U.S. 50 intersect.
Ten of them happened in Kansas City, with the other three in the suburbs of Leawood, Kan., Blue Springs and Lee's Summi.
In each case, someone fired shots just before reaching a highway exit ramp or road split, then veered off in a different direction from the victim's vehicle. The number of reported shootings has fluctuated as officers investigate additional incidents and rule out others, police said.
Additional officers are being sent to areas where the shootings occurred. No new incidents have been reported since Sunday night, police said.
The Crime Stoppers hot line – 816-474-TIPS (8477) – had received more than two dozen tips by 11 a.m. Wednesday. A $7,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooters.
The Examiner staff contributed to this article.