39-year-old Independence man charged with shooting, killing mom in front of two young children

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Jackson County prosecutors filed charges on Tuesday against a 39-year-old Independence man they believe shot and killed a young mom in front of her two young children Sunday night.

Christopher Taylor, image courtesy of Pennington County Jail.

Christopher Taylor, image courtesy of Pennington County Jail.

Prosecutors charged Christopher P. Taylor with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the case.

U.S. Marshals arrested Taylor in South Dakota Tuesday.

"The Independence Police Department and our community deserve praise for working together to bring this suspect to justice," Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. "Our community has shown again it will not tolerate such senseless violence."

Whitney Gray (image courtesy of GoFundMe)

Whitney Gray (image courtesy of GoFundMe)

Court documents say Whitney Gray was driving a minivan around 7:39 p.m., near Winner Road and Sterling Avenue with two children, ages 3-years and 6-months, when she encountered a road rage incident. Prosecutors say Taylor was following Gray's vehicle closely and at one point tried to pass her on the right and almost caused an accident. Witnesses told prosecutors that they saw  a drink or liquid thrown from Gray's vehicle, which was in the left turn lane, onto Taylor's SUV near Winner Road, which was in the right lane to continue north, and moments later heard a loud "pop."

Court documents say both vehicles continued north, but Gray's eventually came to a stop about two blocks away. There were several bullet holes in her windshield, and Gray was shot once in the chest.

A 16-year-old female was also in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Family and friends tell FOX 4 the 3-year-old and 6-month old were Gray's children.

Authorities pronounced Gray dead at the scene. The children were not injured.

Witnesses say they saw Taylor drive north away from where the shooting occurred. Independence detectives recovered surveillance video of the victim's vehicle being followed by a large white SUV, which they released to the public. Police say a tipster told them the vehicle may belong to Taylor and on Monday, Taylor did not show up for work, which was not typical for him.

Court documents say family members became more suspicious that Taylor was involved in the Sunday shooting after it appeared he had packed up many of his belongings and left his home. A car dealer helped police track Taylor's white Toyota Sequoia to a hotel in Box Elder, South Dakota, which is approximately 700 miles north of Independence.

Prosecutors have requested a bond of $100,000 cash for Taylor.

Family and friends of the victim set up a GoFundMe for Gray and her young sons. Click here to donate.

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