Mohammed Whitaker pleads guilty to 2014 Kansas City area highway shootings, will serve 30 years

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Grandview man who police said opened fire on unsuspecting drivers traveling on Kansas City area highways in 2014 has pleaded guilty to 20 felony charges. Mohammed Whitaker, 30, will serve 30 years in prison according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Whitaker had been set to go to trial on September 26 before entering guilty pleas on Tuesday to 10 counts of unlawful discharge of a weapon at a motor vehicle and 10 counts of armed criminal action.

Police said Whitaker was responsible for at least nine different highway shootings, seven occurring on roadways around the Grandview Triangle between March and April of 2014. At least two victims were wounded, and there was a massive search for Whitaker, leading to a reward for his capture that two tipsters eventually split.

Officers arrested Whitaker at his Grandview apartment on April 17, 2014. At the time, investigators said they had linked a dozen shootings to Whitaker, matching .380 caliber bullets recovered at scenes between March 18 and April 6. Witnesses also linked Whitaker's cars to the crime scenes, and while he was under police surveillance, officers said he was seen pacing in drivers' blind spots while on the highway.

When investigators initially interviewed him, he claimed to have limited knowledge of the shootings, and said he didn't own a gun, but couldn't explain why one was found in his bedroom and why there were bullet holes on the inside of his car, but not the outside.

"I remember where I was standing when Chief Forte called to tell me Whitaker had been taken into custody. So it was good today to pass on the news of Whitaker's plea to the dedicated law enforcement personnel who spent countless, sleepless and stress-filled hours, day and night, bringing this man to justice," Baker stated in a news release.

"It was sort of a collective sigh of relief, the entire city felt, but certainly this police department and my office," she later told FOX 4.

Whitaker is still listed as a prisoner in the Jackson County Detention Center, and it's currently unknown where he'll be transferred.