Authorities are unsure of the connection that a St. Louis murder suspect has to New Haven where he was spotted Thursday morning shortly after two deadly shootings.
Casey Lowery, 36, of St. Louis, was charged with murder Friday, May 26, after he was arrested Thursday night in Selmer, Tenn., a town about 300 miles south of St. Louis. The arrest ended a manhunt that began after the three Missouri shootings were reported earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported.
Before his arrest in Tennessee, Lowery was spotted at the New Haven Ice Cream Shoppe at 11:48 a.m.
Owner Alicia Roberts said Lowery drove a mid-1990s blue pickup truck with a camper shell to the business and approached two young girls who were sitting in the bed of a pickup truck.
Lowery asked the girls where their father was, and they replied that their grandfather was inside the store.
The girls ran into the store and Lowery followed, Roberts said.
“He was very pushy when he came in the store,” she said. “He didn’t seem right. He never looked at us and never ordered anything.”
Roberts suspects Lowery was attempting to steal a vehicle, noting that he had asked her to move a vehicle that was parked outside.
“I think he stopped in to try and get a different getaway truck than what he had,” she said.
“We followed him outside and when he saw us with a phone, he sped out of the parking lot like a rocket,” Roberts added.
A store employee wrote down the license plat number on the truck while Roberts called New Haven police.
New Haven Police Chief John Sheible said surveillance camera footage showed that it was Lowery at the store.
“We’re not sure if he knows somebody out here or he just was driving and got lost,” he said. “We have no idea why he was here.”
St. Louis County police investigators responded to the shop at 4:30 p.m. and verified that the man was indeed Lowery.
However, the suspect had left the area hours before, driving eastbound on Highway 100.
St. Louis County police also have not uncovered any connection Lowery has to the New Haven area.
Even though no crime was committed at the store, Roberts knew something was out of the ordinary.
“He approached the girls first and that sent up a red flag,” she said.
Roberts added that she didn’t know until later that day that Lowery was a murder suspect.
The AP reported that investigators were responding Thursday morning to a shooting in St. Louis when they found a 29-year-old woman dead in an alley near where a 52-year-old man had been shot and critically wounded. About 15 minutes later, a 28-year-old man was fatally shot at a gas station about 4 miles away in St. Louis County.
Investigators connected the crime scenes because the same vehicle description was reported at both locations.
Then shortly before 8 p.m., officers in Tennessee were called about a naked man and found Lowery under a highway overpass.
According to Selmer police, Lowery refused to cooperate, and that it took three officers to subdue him. The report said one officer used a stun gun on Lowery, who was combative and making “statements that didn’t make rational sense.” He was charged with resisting arrest and indecent exposure in Tennessee, the AP reported.
Lowery has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the St. Louis County death. Charges have not yet been filed in the city shootings.
It’s unclear how and why Lowery ended up in Tennessee. A local police dispatcher told The Associated Press that Selmer’s police chief was out of the office Friday and no one else was available to comment on the case.
Court records show Lowery has pending charges of domestic assault in St. Louis: one felony and one misdemeanor, for charges filed in 2016. He was released from jail in February on those charges, after posting $15,000 bond.
He also has a pending charge of drug distribution, drug paraphernalia and speeding in Scott County, Mo., following an arrest in 2015. And he has three marijuana possession convictions in St. Louis, in 2001, 2004 and 2007, according to the AP.
He received probation for the most recent conviction, spent 30 days in jail for the 2001 crime and 60 days in jail for the 2004 crime.