UPDATE: Police continue to receive new reports from people who say a gunman shot at them as they drove on Kansas City area roads and highways in the past month.
Tuesday eveneing, a source close to the highway shooting investigation said three more people filed reports with police after seeing news coverage of the 13 previous shootings. Then, Wednesday morning, police notified the media that the number of reports on similar shootings had climbed to 20. Read more about that here.
Earlier on Tuesday, April 8, Kansas City, Mo., police confirmed at least two of the 13 highway shootings were linked. Not all of the shootings happened on highways, but what they have in common is that they have occurred near areas where the road or highway splits.
One victim who did not want to use her name or appear on camera said someone shot her car on Saturday, March 29, around 1 p.m. She as she veered off Ward Parkway onto Shawnee Mission Parkway someone shot a bullet at her car. She said she has a message for the person responsible.
“You need to be found. This is not right," she said. "You could have killed my kid, you could have killed anybody. People have been shot, what’s the point of that?”
The 22-year-old mother is thankful the metal door panel stopped the bullet because sitting where the bullet would have entered was her three-year-old daughter.
“She sits in a forward-facing car seat because she is three and usually her legs are resting on the back of my seat, and it would have hit her in the calf or knee somewhere in her legs, I mean thank God it didn’t,” she said.
Victim sees possible shooter
The young mother said she remembers seeing the man she believes shot at her vehicle.
“I had been behind the guy going through the Plaza and then I got over because I knew I was going to veer off and take Shawnee Mission Parkway," she said. "I did see a guy in the car; he was wearing a hood.”
And then she heard a shot ring out -- only she didn't know it was the sound of a bullet fired at her car.
“We were at that split at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Ward Parkway and I heard -- it was loud,” she said.
Thinking it was her tire, she kept going because the car was driving fine. It wasn’t until later when she saw the bullet hole in her door that she came to the conclusion someone had shot her car.
“There was a big hole in my car," she said. "I put two and two together. I realized when I heard that loud bang, that’s the only explanation that it could be.”
More than 13 victims?
Police say the official number of highway shootings stands at 13, however, another woman said she believes there are more. In fact, she said she's one victim unaccounted for.
"I wonder how many other people this has happened to that didn’t realize it at the time," said Jennie Baugher.
Baugher said on the night of Friday, April 4, she had just picked up her daughter's friend at Rockhurst College. As she traveled south on 71 Hwy she heard a loud noise.
"We both assumed it was a rock because that was the only frame of reference I have at having something hit my car,” she said.
It wasn't until her husband saw the bullet hole that she realized someone had shot her vehicle. The next day she reported the incident to Kansas City police.
"The first time I went, I didn't make it past the front desk," she said. “There were a few officers who came in and out, but nobody wanted to see my car and nobody, you know, I asked them if they wanted me to take pictures or anything.”
Baugher posted pictures to social media, and when she heard news reports about the other 13 reported shootings, she contacted police again.
“I called the TIPS Hotline and a detective called me right back,” she said.
The bullet was still in her car. Police collected it and reportedly have compared it to others they have collected.
Police announce $7,000 reward
Police are offering a possible $7,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. If you know anything, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
"I just hope that it gets solved soon so it doesn’t happen to anymore people and nobody gets hurt because the way it’s going somebody could be hurt or killed easily,” Baugher said.