Is this the Michigan Sniper? Far-right activist who bragged he carried a gun every day is arrested for shooting TWO BOXES of cars
- Suspect arrested in Wixom, the Detroit suburb where the shootings began
- Targets in 24 incidents were primarily cars on roads near Interstate 96
[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false NL-GB X-NO X-NO
Plea: Raulie Casteel, 43, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of attempted murder on Friday after two dozen cars were shot down on a Michigan highway
The man accused of terrifying the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, for two weeks by shooting at two dozen cars on the highway, ranted about far-right politics months before the attacks.
Raulie Wayne Casteel, 43, bragged on his Twitter feed that he carried a gun every day 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 apparently random shootings.
His mother, who lives in Florida, has said that her son is mentally ill and that she had tried to help him but failed to help him, but never believed he would resort to violence.
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth called the attacks, which left one person injured, “domestic terrorism.”
He said, ‘Why did he do it? Don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know.’
Sheriff Wriggelsworth said a tip — one of nearly 3,000 received — led authorities to the man’s home. He would not say what the suspect had said to the detectives.
The shootings began on October 16 and stretched 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 took place on the Interstate.
The crime scene where the shootings took place is 100 miles long and cuts through suburbs, shopping malls and pastures.
Shots were fired during the day, night, weekdays and weekends. Police say the gunman would drive on roads and shoot at vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Only one person was injured.
Scott Arnold, 46, of Kalamazoo, was shot in the buttocks as he drove east on I-96 on October 27 on his way to a World Series game in Detroit. He was rushed to hospital, but suffered no life-threatening injuries.
The first reports of shootings caused panic. Wixom schools restricted recess and other activities where students would go outside. Drivers avoided the main roads where they could be exposed and got stuck on side streets.
Janice Schumacher, 43, was pumping gas into Wixom when she learned a suspect was in custody.
“I hope this is the guy,” said the Commerce Township resident who has been using alternate routes for the past few weeks to do personal errands and take her three kids to and from school.
Stalking ground: The targets of the 24 reported incidents were mostly cars driving on roads near Interstate 96 (pictured)
“For weeks I couldn’t breathe while driving with my kids in the car. If they finally catch this guy, it would be a big relief.’
Before the arrest, there seemed 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 car he was driving.
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw told Mail Online that detectives have been unable to determine a motive because Casteel requested an attorney shortly after his arrest.
But, he said, detectives are investigating a possible connection between the shootings and his political posts on Twitter.
‘It’s something we’re looking at as a possible part of the investigation that we’re not sure if it’s related to the case or not, but it’s something we’re aware of,” he said.
Casteel began regularly posting about politics on his Twitter account in April. He often quoted conservative experts, but also other, more right-wing sources.
Casteel, a married father, said he thought drivers were part of a government conspiracy against him
He also talked about “open carry,” carrying an unconcealed gun.
“The 2nd Amend is an absolute – absolutely no compromises – that I take with me everywhere!” he wrote on September 28.
He also regularly posted about the need to impeach the president.
“I want the arrest and impeachment of Barack Obama. I have given the military the option to march him out of the WH in handcuffs,” he wrote on 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.
Lieutenant Shaw said officers seized a 9mm handgun from Casteel’s home. Pistol-caliber bullets were used in the highway shootings, though he could not confirm whether the bullets found came from Casteel’s rifle.
Lana Hunt, 62, who lives in Florida, told the Detroit free press that her son is mentally ill.
“He trusted me, but I couldn’t get him to see a doctor,” she said.
Artist’s impression: Police arrested the 43-year-old man on suspicion of the sniper, pictured, who shot at random cars in four Michigan counties over two weeks