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
- The targets in 24 incidents were mostly cars on roads near Interstate 96.
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Plea: Raulie Casteel, 43, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of attempted murder Friday after two dozen cars were shot up on a Michigan highway.
The man accused of terrorizing suburban Detroit, Michigan, for two weeks by shooting at two dozen cars on the highway ranted about far-right politics for months before the attacks.
Raulie Wayne Casteel, 43, boasted on his Twitter account about carrying a gun every day and said President Obama should be arrested by the military and “taken 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, says her son has a mental illness and that she had tried unsuccessfully to get him help, but she never believed he would resort to violence.
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth called the attacks, in which one person was injured, “domestic terrorism.”
He said, ‘Why did you do it? I don’t know. I don’t know if we will ever know.
Sheriff Wriggelsworth said a tip, one of nearly 3,000 that have come in, led authorities to the man’s home. He declined to reveal what the suspect told investigators.
The shootings began on October 16 and spread from western Oakland County to Ingham County.
The targets of the 24 reported incidents were mostly cars traveling on roads near Interstate 96. In reality, only a handful of shootings occurred on the interstate.
The crime scene where the shootings took place is 100 miles long and runs through suburbs, shopping centers and agricultural pastures.
Shootings have occurred during the day, at night, during the week and on weekends. Police say the shooter was driving on the highways and shooting at vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Only one person was injured.
Scott Arnold, 46, of Kalamazoo, was shot in the buttocks while driving eastbound on I-96 on Oct. 27, heading to a World Series game in Detroit. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
Initial reports of shootings sparked panic. Wixom schools restricted recess and other activities that would take students outdoors. Drivers avoided main roads where they could be exposed and were stuck on side streets.
Janice Schumacher, 43, was pumping gas in Wixom when she heard a suspect was in custody.
“I hope this is the right man,” said the Commerce Township resident who for the past few weeks has been using alternate routes to run personal errands and transport 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 children in the car. “If they finally caught this guy, it would be a big relief.”
Before the arrest, clues appeared to be few: bullets 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 Lt. Michael Shaw told Mail Online that investigators have not been able to determine a motive because Casteel requested a lawyer shortly after his arrest.
However, he said, detectives are investigating a possible connection between the shootings and his political Twitter posts.
‘“It’s something we’re considering as a possible part of the investigation, we’re not sure if it has any connection to the case or not, but it’s something we’re aware of,” he said.
Casteel began posting frequent posts about politics on his Twitter account in April. He frequently cited conservative experts, but also other more right-wing sources.
Casteel, a married father, said he believed the drivers were part of a government conspiracy against him.
He also talked about ‘open carry,’ the practice of carrying an unconcealed firearm.
‘The Second Amendment is absolute, no strings attached, I take it wherever I go!’ he wrote on September 28.
He also posted frequently about the need to impeach the president.
‘I want the arrest and impeachment of Barack Obamo. “I have given the military the option of removing him from the WH in handcuffs,” he wrote on October 1.
He also said he had purchased a book called “Hostile Takeover: Resisting the Rule of Centralized Government in the United States” by Tea Party activist William Morrow.
Lt. Shaw said officers confiscated a 9mm handgun at Casteel’s home. Pistol-caliber bullets were used in the highway shootings, although he could not confirm whether the bullets recovered were from Casteel’s gun.
Lana Hunt, 62, who lives in Florida, told the Detroit Free Press that his 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 being the sniper, pictured, who shot at random cars in four Michigan counties in two weeks.