Police: Suspect in Kansas, Missouri shootings cut himself in jail

Story highlights

  • Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino was given a shaving razor Wednesday, found with cuts Thursday, police say
  • He is suspected of four deadly shootings in Kansas, one in Missouri
  • Federal immigration authorities were seeking to detain him

(CNN)A man who police say killed five people in Kansas and Missouri was taken from jail to a hospital after cutting himself with a razor, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino, 36, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder after a shooting early Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas. Serrano-Vitorino also is charged with murder in the shooting death of a fifth man in Missouri.
    Serrano-Vitorino was given a safety razor Wednesday and found the next morning with cuts, Cpt. Craig Allison said. Serrano-Vitorino was in stable condition when he taken from the jail in Missouri to a hospital, Allison said. He wouldn't say how deep the cuts were or on what part of the body the cuts were discovered. Allison did call it a suicide attempt.
    On Wednesday, police identified the four Kansas victims as 36-year-old Jeremy Waters of Miami County and three Kansas City residents: 41-year-old Michael Capps, 27-year-old Clint Harter and 29-year-old Austin Harter. According to police, the victims were next door to Serrano-Vitorino and may have been friends with each other.
    The repercussions of the killings will likely extend beyond the local community because the suspect is an undocumented immigrant who had been deported once -- and who faced possible deportation a second time were it not for a bureaucratic mistake by the federal immigration agency.
    U.S. immigration officials confirmed they were aware of Serrano-Vitorino's presence in the country after he had been deported the first time, but said a paperwork error prevented his detention.
    Police had sought Serrano-Vitorino after the first shooting in Kansas in which three men died at the scene and a fourth at a hospital.
    It's unclear what prompted the shootings. Police weren't aware of any dispute between the neighbors and were still investigating possible motives.
    Later Tuesday morning, Missouri police responded to a call about a shooting and found the body of Randy J. Nordman, 49, at his rural Montgomery County home. The officers found Serrano-Vitorino's truck at the residence, said Lt. Paul Reinsch of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

    Mishandled immigration form

    According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Serrano-Vitorino was deported to Mexico in 2004. At some point, he re-entered the United States illegally, though ICE said it was unclear when.
    But on September 15, Serrano-Vitorino was fingerprinted at the Overland Park Municipal Court in Kansas, and ICE was alerted.
    Because Serrano-Vitorino had illegally re-entered the country after a previous deportation, he was subject to deportation once again. ICE filed an immigration detainer, a request to take over custody of Serrano-Vitorino before the local authorities released him.
    But ICE mistakenly issued the detainer for him to the wrong sheriff's office, and as a result of the error, Serrano-Vitorino was not taken into ICE custody then.
    Wyandotte County, Kansas, District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman said Wednesday that ICE's mistake was regrettable.
    "It's certainly unfortunate that we now have four members of our community dead because everything didn't happen the way it's supposed to."
    Immigration detainers are requests -- not orders -- and expire after 48 hours if ICE hasn't taken custody of the individual by then. After 48 hours, if the local agency has no grounds to continue holding a person, he or she must be released.