LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Prosecutors filed nine charges against a Platte County, Missouri man on Friday.
Jason R. Westrem, 37, is accused of shooting at random cars on the Centennial Bridge with a high-powered rifle on Wednesday morning. Todd Thompson, Leavenworth County District Attorney, said Westrem is still in the hospital, but he’ll be under arrest when he’s discharged. Court records show Westrem had no history of violent crime.
On Friday, Thompson said attempted murder is the most serious charge against Westrem, and it could carry up to 50 years in prison.
Police records show Westrem shot into two cars, one of which had a child inside. The other was driven by U.S. Army Ssgt Ehran Schooler, who told FOX4 News he feared he’d been shot in the spine. Ssgt. Schooler said he’s sore, but thankful the incident didn’t turn out worse.
“If I’d been shot in the spine I’d never been able to walk again,” Ssgt. Schooler said. “Thank God (the gunfire) missed it.”
Ssgt. Schooler, an 11-year Army veteran, said he was driving across the bridge on Wednesday when a bullet broke part of his car’s windshield. He said he pulled over and talked with a nearby construction worker while he called for help.
Ssgt. Schooler said he was shot while making that call. Ssgt. Schooler said he’s recovering well from wounds to his side and back. An active duty solider hit Westrem with his truck on Wednesday, trapping him until police could move in to make an arrest.
“We charged what we felt was comfortable enough to charge with the facts we know,” Thompson said.
Thompson refused to discuss the case in detail, or to mention the motive police believe Westrem used to commit the shootings. One round of ammunition, according to Ssgt. Schooler, hit the passenger side headrest in his car.
“Our community is safe. We’ve had crime going down. This is something, I would say, that’s outside the norm, but knock on wood, we don’t continue to see things like this happen,” Thompson said.
“If you try to kill people, that’s not very cool to just open fire at 11 o’clock. He’s trying to kill people. Thank God no one got killed and no one else got hurt,” Ssgt. Schooler told FOX4 News.
Leavenworth County prosecutors said three charges against Westrem are for shooting into cars, and two counts of child endangerment, among others. There’s no date set for his first court appearance.