KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) – Authorities have two people in custody in connection with the deadly shooting of a man believed to have gone to a Wyandotte County park to play Pokemon Go.
Wyandotte County Sheriff Donald Ash said they’re part of a larger group suspected in a dozen violent crimes on both sides of the state line. Ash said the crimes have happened in at least half a dozen surrounding cities.
At this time, he knows of no clear connection between the suspects and the victim, Skylar Needham, a 30-year-old father of two.
Deputies were called to Matney Park around 5:30 a.m. Aug. 15 on a report of numerous shots fired. They found a car that had jumped the curb and gone toward the playground area. That’s where they found Needham dead inside his car.
Needham’s mother made a desperate plea for help nearly a week after his death.
“I am devastated. He has a brother and a sister and a wife that he loved and two baby girls that were his world, that were his life and somebody knows,” Deana Meador told WDAF-TV.
On Thursday, Ash called a news conference.
“One of our main purposes here today is to let the family know and the community know that we are all over this investigation, and we are doing everything we can to make sure the community is safe,” Ash said.
He announced they were able to track suspects to Southridge Apartments on the Johnson County line both through tips and technology. Three men and two women were taken into custody, all between the age of 19 and 22. Three were released, two are now being held on outstanding warrants for aggravated failure to register and a parole violation.
The group is suspected in at least a dozen violent crimes. The sheriff said he’s confident more charges will be filed.
Needham’s mother said following the conference she too is confident detectives will get everyone involved in what she called the brutal and malicious murder of her son.
“This could affect other families, and we want to make this stop. We want to get to the bottom of the people who are doing this,” Meador said.
But questions remain why the new father, who reportedly went to the park to get some exercise and play his favorite game before his family awakened, was killed with the Pokemon Go App left open on his phone.
“They will get to the bottom of it. What was done in the dark that morning will be brought to light,” Meador said.
Ash said federal, state and local investigators in numerous cities are involved in this case right now. The two people in custody aren’t being named as they continue the investigation.
If you have any information you are asked to call the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.