An illegal immigrant accused of killing five in a violent spree at separate spots in Kansas and Missouri – and who was mistakenly released by police authorities in September, as well as deported by feds in 2004 – was finally found and taken into custody Wednesday, on a hill by an interstate near a McDonald’s restaurant.
Missouri Highway Patrol officers said to the Kansas City Star that Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino was arrested in Montgomery County, Missouri, near a ditch by Interstate 70.
“He looked exhausted,” said Sgt. James Hedrick, in the local paper.
NBC News, meanwhile, Serrano-Vitorino, 40, was taken into custody after pulling a gun on a person at a gas station, who in turn called police to complain.
Fox News reported Serrano-Vitorino is believed by law enforcement to have murdered four men earlier this week at his neighbor’s home in Kansas City. Police also think he shot and killed a 49-year-old man named Randy Nordman in Montgomery County.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials put out a statement about Serrano-Vitorino that confirmed he’s a Mexican national, in the United States illegally. The statement also specified Serrano-Vitorino had been detained at Kansas Municipal Court on September 14, 2015, for driving without a license, where fingerprinting showed he was wanted by ICE. But the federal agency “erroneously issued [the detainer document] … to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, instead of the Overland Park Municipal Court” where he was actually incarcerated, authorities said, and he was let go, Fox News reported.
ICE said it “regrets the error” for issuing the detainer to the wrong facility, the New York Daily News reported.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, said Serrano-Vitorino was allowed to go free and ICE was never notified. The reason he was released from custody absent ICE notification is not known, Fox News said.
ICE also confirmed Serrano-Vitorino had been deported to Mexico at some point in 2004. It’s not known how long he’s been in the United States.
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials joined for a manhunt for Serrano-Vitorino earlier this week, sending out the helicopter, police dogs and even SWAT members. They found the truck believed to have been driven by Serrano-Vitorino early Tuesday morning, shortly after responding to a report of a shooting just a few miles away. Police arriving at the scene of the shooting discovered Nordman’s body.
The Kansas City Star identified three of the other victims as Mike Capps and brothers Clint and Austin Harter. The motives for the killings are not known.