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Ohio shooting suspect arrested in Las Vegas

Charles McCoy Jr.

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CNN's Eric Philips reports that Ohio authorities have identified a suspect in a series of highway shootings.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Charles McCoy Jr., 28, the suspect in two dozen Ohio shootings has been arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's office.

Word of McCoy's capture came after his sister on Tuesday made a public plea for him to call home, telling her brother that "everything is going to be OK."

McCoy is suspected in 24 shootings since May 2003, most of them driving along Columbus's outerbelt highway. One of the shootings was fatal.

"Charlie, we all love you very, very much, and we are very concerned about your well-being right now. Everything is going to be OK," said Amy Walton outside the family home.

"Mom and I need you to call us. We will arrange for you to come home. We love you, we miss you, you need to call us."

McCoy's mother, 48-year-old Ardith McCoy, filed a missing person report Monday saying she had not seen her son since 4 p.m. Friday.

According to the report, McCoy said her son was upset "over a possible move" and withdrew $600 from his bank account, saying he was going to a bar in the Easton neighborhood.

McCoy is charged with felonious assault in a December 15 shooting into a home two miles from Interstate 270 -- the highway on which most of the attacks occurred.

The warrant for his arrest says he "did cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another by means of a deadly weapon" in that incident.

Authorities said ballistic evidence links that shooting to some of the other shootings that have terrorized the region.

The Columbus Dispatch cited unidentified sources saying that McCoy's father, Charles A. McCoy Sr., gave authorities two of his son's handguns.

One of the guns proved to be a ballistic match to bullet fragments recovered from nine of the serial shootings, the report said.

Investigators searched the home where he lives with his mother, just a few miles from where many of the shootings have taken place. The results of the search were sealed.

At least seven shootings, including the one fatal incident, were linked to the same gun, and authorities believe location and circumstances link other shootings to the same suspect.

Court records also show that McCoy was pulled over for speeding after the attacks began.

In one incident, he was ticketed for speeding May 26 -- more than two weeks after the shootings began. He was ticketed again November 4 -- a few weeks before the one fatal shooting.

In both cases, McCoy paid the ticket, records show.

Since announcing Monday that McCoy is the suspect in the shootings and releasing his photograph, authorities have received "a ton of phone calls," said Cpl. Marc Pappas of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

He also said the suspect is considered "suicidal with homicidal tendencies," although he would not say how authorities came to that conclusion.

The fatal shooting took place November 25, 2003. Gail Knisley, 62, was killed at about 10 a.m. on I-270 when a bullet ripped through the driver's door of a car in which she was a passenger. Knisley was on her way to a doctor's appointment.

A search through court records showed that while McCoy has faced traffic convictions, there is no record of his being charged previously with any acts of violence.

The most serious charge was for driving under the influence in 1994, at the age of 19. After spending a couple of days in jail, he took part in a three-day, in-house sobriety program, paid a fine and was released.

The 24 shootings that authorities believe are linked include 18 attacks on vehicles along the interstate, two at homes, two at school buses, one at a used-car lot and one at a school.

On November 11, a bullet was fired into Hamilton Township Central Elementary School in the village of Obetz, south of Columbus, while the school was empty.

Witnesses to a February shooting said they saw a man firing from an overpass. They described the man as white, about 30 to 40 years old, of average height and weight, with dark hair, and wearing a dark hat and dark sunglasses, police said.

After firing, the man got into a small- to midsize, dark-colored sedan and drove off, they said.

A $60,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the shooter.

CNN's Sean Callebs and Eric Fiegel contributed to this report.

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