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Mississippi highway shootings: Suspect not a fake cop

Mississippi police arrested James D. Willie, a suspect in two fatal highway shootings. But police said Willie wasn't posing as a cop. Why did police think he was?

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Mississippi police have arrested James D. Willie, of Sardis, Mississippi, who is the chief suspect for two highway killings this month, the Department of Public Safety said on Friday.

REUTERS

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 Police have arrested a suspect in two fatal highway shootings in Mississippi that prompted warnings a fake officer might be pulling over victims.

Authorities said early Friday that the fears of an impostor turned out to be unfounded. Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain told The Associated Press that the suspect, James D. Willie, 28, had not been posing as a police officer in the shootings.

Willie was being held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape and would be formally charged with two counts of capital murder, Strain said. He was being held at the Tunica County jail in north Mississippi.

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Willie was arrested Tuesday morning when authorities responded to a disturbance at an apartment. Tunica police found Willie with a woman who claimed he had raped her, a news release said. When Willie was arrested, authorities found a 9mm Ruger in his possession. Ballistic testing later found that it was the same gun used in the two highway shootings, authorities said.

Strain said Willie is a convicted felon, but he did not have details about his previous arrests.

Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Neb., was found dead in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County on May 8 around 1:30 a.m. Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, Miss. was found dead near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m. on May 11.

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