Prosecutor: Murder charges filed in Independence road rage incident

Christopher Taylor

INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) – An Independence man, who was arrested in South Dakota, has been charged with the murder of a 22-year-old woman in front of her two young sons that police say was the result of a possible road rage incident.

Christopher P. Taylor, 39, of Independence, faces second-degree murder and armed criminal action charges. Prosecutors have requested a bond of $100,000.

“The Independence Police Department and our community deserve praise for working together to bring this suspect to justice,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. “Our community has shown again it will not tolerate such senseless violence.”

The victim has been identified as Whitney M. Gray of Independence.

According to court records, Independence police responded to the shooting in the 1600 block of Sterling Avenue on about 7:40 p.m. Sunday.

Gray had suffered a gunshot to the chest while driving her minivan north on Sterling Avenue near Winner Road. She was shot by Taylor from his moving vehicle, apparently due to road rage, court records state. She was with her 8-month-old and 3-year-old sons. She also had a 16-year-old relative with her. 

Multiple witnesses reported seeing the road rage incident. Fortunately, none of the juveniles in the vehicle were physically injured during the incident.

Gray was driving and Taylor was following her closely. He reportedly tried to pass her, nearly causing an accident.

At Winner Road, witnesses reported seeing a drink or liquid thrown from her vehicle onto Taylor’s SUV. Then a loud “pop” was heard, court records state.

Taylor continued driving. Independence detectives recovered surveillance video of Gray ‘s vehicle being followed by a large white SUV.

Witnesses told police that Taylor’s vehicle may have been involved after they watched news reports on TV.

Taylor uncharacteristically did not show up for work on Monday, according to his boss. Family members said they became more suspicious that Taylor was involved in the Sunday shooting after it appeared he had packed up many of his belongings and left his home.

A car dealer helped police track Taylor’s white Toyota Sequoia to a hotel in Box Elder, SD. He was taken into custody in South Dakota early Tuesday by the U.S. Marshals Services. 

Neighbors say Taylor has been described as paranoid and “anti-government.” 

They say he lives in a compound of homes where gunfire can frequently be heard. 

“It actually just pulls out of here,” said neighbor Kandis Adams, who says Taylor is an aggressive driver. “There’s a stop sign right here at the end of the block in front of my house and I’m constantly chasing the guy, yelling at the guy  to ‘slow down, there’s a stop sign.'”