For a year, the walking and biking trails snaking through south Kansas City, Mo., were plagued with bloodshed.
Beginning in August 2016 and continuing deep into the next year, the bodies of hikers and dog walkers were found dead along the city’s Indian Creek trail or on nearby roadways. They were all shot. They were all middle-aged. They were all white.
The killing stopped after the August arrest of Fredrick Demond Scott, a 22-year-old Burger King employee. As The Washington Post reported in September, Scott, who is African American, had allegedly threatened to shoot up his high school and “kill all white people.”
Last fall, Scott pleaded not guilty to three slayings: the deaths of Karen Harmeyer, 64; John Palmer, 54; and Steven Gibbons, 57.
He was the suspect in three additional deaths, and on Friday a grand jury in Jackson County indicted Scott in connection with them. The victims, according to the Associated Press, were Michael Darby, 61; Timothy Rice, 57; and David Lenox, 67.
Scott now faces a total six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of armed criminal action.
“We’re thankful that he is off the street and hopefully he’ll be held accountable for what he has done,” Mindy Lenox, the David Lenox’s daughter, told the Kansas City Star. “I don’t know for me personally that there is any closure. Nothing can bring my dad back and nothing can take that pain away, but at least knowing that the person responsible will be held accountable, it will certainly be helpful.”
Scott has yet to enter a plea to the latest charges.
Authorities have not publicly addressed a possible motive for the killings, racial or otherwise. In August, Scott’s mother told the Star her son was suffering from untreated paranoid schizophrenia and did not appear to be driven by racial animus.
“As far as I know Fredrick never had a problem with white people,” his mother told the newspaper. “He would do odd jobs for people and some of those people were white men.”
The first victim found was Palmer, in August 2016 in the woods off the Indian Creek trail, a 26-mile loop running through Kansas City. Four additional bodies were found through the year.
Karen Harmeyer, the only female victim, was killed in July 2017. According to Fox 4, she was homeless and was found dead in a tent by friends. Her killing was not initially linked to Scott after his arrest last fall. But in October, police charged the suspect with her death.
The last victim, Steven Gibbons, was killed after leaving a bus stop in August 2017.
The Gibbons slaying is what led authorities to Scott.
As The Post reported last year, security footage from the scene allegedly spotted Scott emerging from a city bus at the same stop as Gibbons. At the crime scene, police discovered a 32-ounce Brisk Iced Tea bottle. Working off security cameras from various stops along the route, detectives found footage of Scott buying the same drink.
After Scott’s arrest, local news outlets dug up his alleged past threats regarding race. In 2014, Scott was a student at an alternative school when he allegedly threatened to “shoot the school up, Columbine-style.” According to municipal court documents, he also spoke of wanting to kill himself and to “kill all white people.”
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