Bridge shooting suspect to be evaluated at state hospital

John Richmeier
Jason Westrem

A man accused of shooting at motorists on the Centennial Bridge will be evaluated at a state hospital.

A judge granted a motion for the psychological evaluation of Jason R. Westrem during a hearing Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court.

Westrem, 37, Houston Lake, Missouri, is charged with nine felony counts including attempted first-degree murder in connection to a May 27 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.

David Royer, who was serving in the Army at the time, has been credited with stopping the May 27 shooting incident by striking the suspect with his pickup truck.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Westrem’s attorney, John Bryant, requested that his client be evaluated at a state hospital in Larned.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman granted the motion for the evaluation.

“I know it will take longer than 60 days,” Kuckelman said.

But the judge suggested scheduling a status hearing in about 60 days to see if Westrem has been transported to the hospital for the evaluation.

Kuckelman scheduled the status hearing for Dec. 2.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Westrem is facing two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated endangering a child and four counts of discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle.

Westrem is currently in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.

Wednesday’s hearing was conducted using the Zoom online videoconferencing service. Zoom is being used for many proceedings in Leavenworth County District Court because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR