Former classmate says shooting suspect was "a fun, good guy"

Moberly Resident Ryan Ludwick said he never imagined his former classmate Mohammed Whitaker would be the suspect in a dozen highway shootings.

A former high school classmate of Kansas City highway shooting suspect Mohammed Whitaker said he never pictured his former classmate as a violent person.

Whitaker is facing 18 felony charges related to 12 shooting incidents that took place on Kansas City highways. Seven of the counts are for unlawful use of a weapon, nine are for armed criminal action, and two are for unlawful use of a weapon that resulted in an injury.

At least six of the shootings happened near Grandview. The motivation behind the shootings remains a mystery.

Moberly resident Ryan Ludwick said he has fond memories of Whitaker as a high school classmate.

"He was fun, he was a good guy," Ludwick said. "He was always nice to everybody. I have never seen him in a confrontation or anything."

Ludwick graduated Moberly High School in 2003 and was a year a head of Whitaker in school. He said Whitaker was generally well-liked and had his own group of friends.

"Just his laugh," Ludwick said. "I remember his laugh, he has an awesome laugh. That's really all I can think of Mohammed. He has a good laugh, just a funny guy."

Ludwick said he hopes the best for his former classmate. "Hang in there, man. I don't know how this got misunderstood, if this is him or not him. Hang in there man, be strong."

However, Ludwick also said he was disturbed by the shooter's behavior and wishes the best for those recovering from injuries.

Whitaker has a history with law enforcement. According to online court records, Whitaker has had a number of run-ins with the law including attempting to buy alcohol as a minor, excessive BAC, speeding, and reckless driving. He completed probation for excessive BAC in October of 2013.

"I was taken by surprise because never in my life have I heard him be violent or anything," Ludwick said. "He's always laughing, always being funny, so this is really strange to me."