Authorities in Missouri arrested a man they suspect is tied to as many as six killings in the St. Louis area and Kansas City, Kan., officials announced Monday.
Perez Reed was charged Saturday with two counts of first-degree murder and assault in shootings that occurred in the St. Louis County area in September, prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell said during a press conference on Monday. Reed is also facing three counts of armed criminal action.
Authorities say Reed shot a man in the St. Louis County area on Sept. 12 multiple times in the chest. That victim suffered serious injuries and "permanent disability," Bell said.
Police say Reed also fatally shot 16-year-old Marnay Haynes on Sept. 13 and Lester Robinson on Sept. 26 — also in St. Louis County.
"The defendant was arrested in possession of a .40-caliber handgun that matched shell casings located at the body of all three victims," Bell said.
That same gun matched casings at other shooting scenes in St. Louis County as well as in Kansas City, Kan. Other charges could be pending, he said.
An attorney listed in court documents as representing Reed didn't immediately respond to NPR's request for comment on this case.
Reed lives in St. Louis, but traveled to Kansas City on Oct. 28, according to a federal affidavit reviewed by NPR. While there, he was shown on a surveillance camera heading to an apartment building and meeting a person who was later discovered dead in their unit. In that same apartment building, another body was found days later.
The Kansas City Star reports that investigators implicate Reed in the killings of those two people: Damon Irvin, 35, and Rau'Daja Fairrow, 25, of Kansas City, Kansas. Neither victim is named in the federal court records. According to the newspaper, information from authorities "matches homicide investigations opened by Kansas City, Kansas police earlier this month after the two bodies were discovered in separate apartments within the Wyandotte Towers, a 15-story building downtown."
The affidavit states that the apartment complex gave police a picture of Reed's driver's license that was used to gain entry into the building. The apartment building's surveillance footage showed a Black man with a crescent tattoo on his forehead, the same as Reed's, walking with both victims.
Reed was arrested by an FBI task force this Saturday. He is currently being held on a $2 million bond, according to court records reviewed by NPR.
A motive is unclear so far
U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming with the Eastern District of Missouri, who spoke alongside local authorities on Monday, said Reed's arrest was the result of "relentless investigation of these hideous and violent crimes."
No officer shared any possible motive for these attacks with reporters. Police said it did not appear that the victims knew one another.
Bell, the prosecuting attorney in St. Louis, said authorities as of now are not calling Reed a "serial killer," as he has so far been charged with two murders. The standard definition for a serial killer is someone who murders three or more people.
Notorious serial killers captured by authorities include John Wayne Gacy, who was convicted of killing 33 young men and boys in the 1970s, and Samuel Little, considered the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.
It took some time to catch these two men. Gacy was captured in 1978 after a killing spree that began six years earlier.
Little was able to continue with his murder spree for decades. He confessed starting in 2018 to killing 93 people from 1970 and 2005.