(NEW YORK) — Mississippi authorities are urging drivers to be wary when being pulled over by a police officer after two people were shot and killed by someone police think could be posing as a cop to get motorists to stop.
“We urge everyone to be cautious while driving, especially at night,” the Tate County Sheriff’s Office posted on their Facebook page. “If someone attempts to pull you over with flashing lights and you feel unsure of stopping, DON’T PULL OVER. Use your cellphone and dial 911 and if it’s a real officer then the dispatcher will confirm it for you and if it’s not a real officer they will send help to you.”
“Our deputies have been told not to overreact if someone does not immediately pull over,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Your safety is our primary concern.”
Two drivers were killed on northern Mississippi highways within days of each other and investigators in multiple counties and federal officials are working to find out who may be behind the killings.
One driver, Tom Schlender, 74, from Nebraska, was found in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County on May 8 about 1:30 a.m. Three days later, Lori Carswell, 48, from Mississippi, was found near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m. The shootings appear to be random and there is no known connection between the victims. Police are analyzing shell casings discovered at both scenes.
Authorities suspect the shooter may be pretending to be a cop because the perpetrator may have been driving a gold unmarked Crown Victoria sedan, which can resemble a police car.
“There’s been instances where a vehicle described as a white unmarked Crown Victoria attempting to pull people over,” Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance had said. On Tuesday, the white Crown Victoria was ruled out and authorities are now searching for a gold Crown Victoria.
Authorities have launched a dragnet, saturating the area, looking for clues and a possible suspect.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire