A Missouri man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and multiple other counts in connection to Wednesday’s shooting on the Centennial Bridge in Leavenworth.
Jason R. Westrem, 37, Houston Lake, Missouri, is facing a total of nine counts in Leavenworth County District Court, County Attorney Todd Thompson announced Friday.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred Wednesday morning on the Centennial Bridge, which stretches across the Missouri River from Leavenworth to Platte County, Missouri.
Authorities allege Westrem fired an AR-15 rifle at vehicles on the bridge, seemingly at random.
One person was wounded, and he remained in the hospital Friday morning, according to Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department.
A soldier assigned to Fort Leavenworth is credited with stopping the shooting.
Master Sgt. David Royer, who was in traffic behind Westrem, reportedly drove his pickup truck into the suspect.
Westrem, who was injured in the crash, also remained in the hospital Friday.
In addition to the charge of attempted murder, Westrem faces two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated endangering a child and four counts of discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle.
One of the four counts of discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle is considered more severe than the three other similar charges because it allegedly resulted in great bodily harm.
Speaking Friday at a news conference, Thompson said the penalty Westrem could face if he is convicted of the charges would depend on the defendant’s prior criminal history.
The charges were filed Friday.
"We took a lot of time and consideration on what we’re doing," Thompson said.
He said the investigation into the incident on the Centennial Bridge is ongoing and charges could change as prosecutors receive more facts.
Because Westrem remains in the hospital, Thompson does not know when the defendant will make his first court appearance in the case.
Concerns about COVID-19 also have limited court proceedings.
Wednesday’s incident began around 11 a.m. The Centennial Bridge remained closed for several hours as law enforcement officers conducted an investigation at the scene.
Royer spoke to members of the media on Thursday.
"I feel as if most people in my situation would have done the same thing," he said.
Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens called Royer a hero, saying the sergeant saved countless lives.