Is that the Michigan Sniper? A far-right activist who boasted he carried a gun every day is arrested for shooting at TWO DOZENS cars
- Suspect arrested in Wixom, the Detroit suburb where the shootings began
- Targets in 24 incidents were primarily cars on roads near Interstate 96
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Pleading: Raulie Casteel, 43, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of attempted murder on Friday after two dozen cars were shot on a Michigan freeway
The man accused of scaring a Detroit, Michigan suburb for two weeks by shooting at two dozen cars on the freeway had been ranting about far-right politics for months before the attacks.
Raulie Wayne Casteel, 43, bragged about carrying a pistol every day on his Twitter feed 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 what appeared to be random shootings.
His mother, who lives in Florida, has said her son has a mental illness and that she had tried to get him help to no avail, but never believed he would use violence.
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth called the attacks, which injured one person, “domestic terrorism.”
He said, “Why did he do that? I do not know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know.”
Sheriff Wriggelsworth said a tip – one of nearly 3,000 that had been received – led authorities to the man’s home. What the suspect told the investigators, he did not want to reveal.
The shootings began on October 16 and spanned from Oakland County West to Ingham County.
The targets of the 24 reported incidents were primarily cars traveling on roads near Interstate 96. Only a handful of shootings actually occurred on the interstate.
The crime scene where the shooting took place is 100 miles long, cutting through suburbs, malls and pastures.
Shootings took place during the day, night, weekdays and weekends. Police say the gunman was driving down streets and shooting at vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Only one person was injured.
Scott Arnold, 46, of Kalamazoo, shot in the buttocks while driving east on I-96 to a World Series game in Detroit on Oct. 27. He was taken to the hospital but suffered no life-threatening injuries.
Initial reports of shootings triggered panic. Wixom schools restricted breaks and other activities that would take students outdoors. Motorists avoided main thoroughfares where they could be exposed and got stuck on side streets.
Janice Schumacher, 43, was pumping gas in Wixom when she heard a suspect was in custody.
“I hope that’s the guy,” said the Commerce Township resident, who has been using alternative routes to run personal errands and get her three children to and from school in recent weeks.
Stalking Ground: The targets in the 24 reported incidents were primarily cars traveling on roads near Interstate 96 (pictured).
“For weeks I have been unable to breathe when driving with my children. If they finally get this guy, that would be a huge relief.”
Before the arrest, there appeared to be few clues — slugs and bullet fragments embedded in cars, metal casings on roads, a simple black-and-white sketch of the shooter, and vague descriptions of the dark-colored car he was driving.
Michael Shaw, Lt.
However, he said detectives are looking into a possible link between the shootings and his political posts on Twitter.
‘It’s something we see as a possible part of the investigation, we’re not sure if that has any connection to the case or not, but it’s something we’re aware of,” he said.
Casteel began posting frequently about politics on his Twitter account in April. He frequently quoted conservative experts, but also other more right-wing sources.
Casteel, a married father, said he believes the drivers are part of a government conspiracy against him
He also spoke about “open carry,” the practice of carrying an unconcealed handgun.
‘The 2nd Amend is absolutely – absolutely uncompromising – I wear it everywhere!’ He wrote on 28.9.
He also wrote frequently about the need to impeach the President.
“I want Barack Obama arrested and impeached. I gave the military the opportunity to march him out of WH in handcuffs,” he wrote Oct. 1.
He also said he bought 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 handgun from Casteel’s home. Pistol-caliber bullets were used in the highway shootings, although he could not confirm whether the recovered bullets came from Casteel’s gun.
Lana Hunt, 62, who lives in Florida, shared the story Detroit FreePress that her son is mentally ill.
“He trusted me, but I couldn’t get him to see a doctor,” she said.
Artist’s rendering: Police arrested the 43-year-old man on suspicion of being the pictured sniper who shot indiscriminately at cars in four Michigan counties over a two-week period