Is this the Michigan Sniper? Far-right activist who bragged about carrying a gun every day is arrested for shooting at TWO DOZEN cars
- Suspect arrested in Wixom, the Detroit suburb where shootings began
- Targets in 24 incidents were mostly cars on roads near Interstate 96
[if gte mso 9]>
Plea: Raulie Casteel, 43, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of attempted murder on Friday after two dozens cars were shot on a Michigan highway
The man accused of terrifying suburban Detroit, Michigan, for two weeks by shooting at two dozen cars on the highway ranted about far-right-wing politics for months before the attacks.
Raulie Wayne Casteel, 43, bragged on his Twitter feed about carrying a handgun everyday and said President Obama should be arrested by the military and ‘marched out of the White House in handcuffs.’
Police arrested him Sunday night at his home in Wixom, Michigan, near the epicenter of the seemingly random shootings.
His mother, who lives in Florida, has she her son is mentally ill and that she had tried and failed to get him help, but she never believed he would resort to violence.
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth called the attacks, which wounded one person, ‘domestic terrorism’.
He said: ‘Why did he do it? I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know.’
Sheriff Wriggelsworth said a tip – one of close to 3,000 that have come in – led authorities to the man’s home. He declined to disclose what the suspect told investigators.
The shootings began on October 16 and stretched from Oakland County west to Ingham County.
The targets in the 24 reported incidents were mostly cars traveling on roads near Interstate 96. Only a handful of shootings actually occurred on the interstate.
The crime scene where the shootings took place is 100 miles long and slices through suburbia, shopping malls and farm pastures.
Shootings have occurred during the day, at night, on weekdays and on weekends. Police say the shooter would drive along roadways and fire at vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Only one person was wounded.
Scott Arnold, 46, from Kalamazoo, shot in the buttocks as he drove along eastbound I-96 on October 27, heading to a World Series game in Detroit. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not suffer a life-threatening wound.
Initial reports of shootings stirred panic. Wixom schools restricted recess and other activities that would take students outdoors. Drivers avoided main thoroughfares where they might be exposed and stuck to side streets.
Janice Schumacher, 43, was pumping gas in Wixom when she heard that a suspect was in custody.
‘I hope this is the guy,’ said the Commerce Township resident who for the past several weeks has been using alternate routes to run personal errands and shuttle her three children to and from school.
Stalking ground: The targets in the 24 reported incidents were mostly cars traveling on roads near Interstate 96 (pictured)
‘For weeks, I haven’t been able to breathe while driving with my kids in the car. If they finally got this guy, that would be a major relief.’
Before the arrest, clues appeared to be few – slugs and bullet fragments embedded in cars, metal casings on roadways, a simple black-and-white sketch of the shooter and vague descriptions of the dark car he drove.
Michigan State Police Lt Michael Shaw told Mail Online investigators have not been able to determine a motive because Casteel requested a lawyer shortly after his arrested.
However, he said, detectives are looking into a possible connection between the shootings and his political posts on Twitter.
‘It is something we are looking at as a possible part of the investigation we’re not sure whether that has any connection with the case or not, but it is something we’re aware of,’ he said.
Casteel began making frequent posts about politics on his Twitter account in April. He frequently cited conservative pundits, but other more right-wing sources, as well.
Casteel, a married father, said he believed drivers were part of a government conspiracy against him
He also talked about ‘open carry,’ the practice of carrying a non-concealed handgun.
‘The 2nd Amend is an absolute – absolutely no compromises – I carry everwhere I go!’ he wrote on September 28.
He also frequently posted about the need to impeach the President.
‘I want the arrest and impeachment of Barack Obamo. I’ve given the military the option of marching him out of the W.H. in handcuffs,’ he wrote October 1.
He also said he had purchased a book called ‘Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America’ by Tea Party activist William Morrow.
Lt Shaw said officers seized a 9mm pistol from Casteel’s home. Pistol-caliber bullets were used in the highway shootings, though he could not confirm whether the bullets recovered were fire from Casteel’s gun.
Lana Hunt, 62, who lives in Florida, told the Detroit Free Press that her son is mentally ill.
‘He trusted me, but I could not get him to see a doctor,’ she said.
Artist’s impression: Police arrested the 43-year-old man on suspicion of being the sniper, pictured, who shot at random cars in four Michigan counties in two weeks