A Kansas City man suspected of killing five people reported four handgun thefts to police before his arrest.
Police suspect Fredrick Scott, 22, used those guns in the shooting deaths and reported them stolen to throw off investigators, according to court documents. Prosecutors announced Tuesday that Scott had been charged in two of the killings and was a suspect in three more over nine months, all on or near south Kansas City hiking and biking trails. A phone call to a public defender listed in online court documents was not immediately returned.
Brian Darby wonders whether more could have been done to stop the last deaths, including that of his father, Michael Darby, who was the fourth person killed, The Kansas City Star reports. Darby said "alarms should have been going off."
Kansas City Police Capt. Stacey Graves said the department can't discuss the case against Scott because it remains an open investigation. But when the department, in any situation, receives separate stolen gun reports from the same person, Graves said, "that should raise some red flags."
Scott is jailed on charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, 57, and John Palmer, 54. He is also a suspect in the deaths of David Lenox, 67; Timothy S. Rice, 57, of Excelsior Springs; and Darby, 61, all near south Kansas City trails.
The first three fatal shootings occurred within days — even hours — of Scott's stolen gun reports, according to court documents that outline all five killings. It is unclear when the fourth gun was reported stolen. After the first three fatal killings and stolen gun reports, two more people would die by gunshots to the back of the head.
When asked about whether Scott's stolen gun reports should have raised concerns, Graves said, "That is something that is being investigated. It will be something we look at."
Mark Jones of Chicago, a retired supervisory special agent in the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said police should follow up immediately when someone reports a second separate gun theft because the victim is either complicit in the theft or the victim needs to do a better job protecting firearms from theft.
"I can see where you can report a gun stolen because you know it's going to be used in a crime, but I think you can only get away with that once," Jones said.