James D. Willie, 28, arrested for Miss. highway shootings
James D. Willie, 28, is being held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape and would be formally charged with two counts of capital murder, but according to Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain, Willie had not been posing as an officer.
Willie was arrested Tuesday morning when authorities responded to a disturbance at an apartment. Tunica police found Willie with a woman who claimed he had raped her, a news release said. When Willie was arrested, authorities found a 9mm Ruger in his possession.
Ballistic testing later found that it was the same gun used in the shootings of Thomas Schlender, 74, on 55 in Panola County on May 8 around 1:30 a.m., and Lori Anne Carswell, 48, on Mississippi Highway 713 about 2:15 a.m. on May 11.
Strain said Willie is a convicted felon, but he did not have details about his previous arrests.
Fears that a fake cop may have been behind the shootings prompted authorities to urge drivers to use caution when approached by any vehicle with flashing blue lights, even telling people they could call 911 if they were being pulled over.
Strain said it's too early in the investigation to release details of how or why the motorists were on the side of the roads. He also declined to give a possible motive for the shootings.
Carswell just left work from Fitzgerald's Casino, also known as the Fitz Casino, in Tunica County when she was killed, authorities have said. Schlender's was driving from Nebraska to Florida to pick up his grandson, authorities said.
Shell casings were found at the scene of both shootings, authorities have said.
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