Defendant in bridge shooting case undergoing evaluation

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A man accused of shooting at motorists on the Centennial Bridge is undergoing a mental health evaluation at a state hospital.

Jason R. Westrem, 38, Houston Lake, Missouri, was scheduled to appear in court Friday. But his attorney, Clinton Lee, said the defendant was at a state hospital in Larned.

Westrem is charged in Leavenworth County District Court with nine felony counts including attempted first-degree murder in connection to a May 27, 2020, incident on the Centennial Bridge.

The bridge stretches across the Missouri River from north Leavenworth to Platte County, Missouri.

Westrem is accused of firing at occupied vehicles on the bridge.

An affidavit prepared by a Leavenworth police detective alleges Westrem fired at least 15 shots from a handgun and at least 23 rounds from an AR-15 style rifle.

One person was wounded by gunfire. Westrem also was injured when he reportedly was struck by a vehicle.

In September, a judge granted a request for Westrem to be evaluated at the state hospital in Larned. One of reasons for the evaluation is to determine if the defendant is competent to stand trial.

Westrem waited months for a space to become available at the state hospital.

Friday's hearing was scheduled to check on the status of his competency evaluation.

Westrem had been free on bond while waiting for his evaluation.

Lee said in court Friday that his client turned himself in to the Leavenworth County Jail on July 20 and was transported the same day to the state hospital.

"He's at Larned as we speak being evaluated," Lee said.

The defense attorney suggested the judge schedule a status hearing in about 90 days.

District Judge David King scheduled the next hearing in the case for Nov. 10.