The attacks occurred for several weeks across poor Black neighborhoods in the St. Louis area. Many were linked to a single gun. But whose?

It started outside St. Louis in mid-September, when a man waiting at a bus stop was shot and severely injured by a stranger. The next day, the body of a teenage girl shot in the back of the head was found in the same neighborhood, the New York Times reported.

The unsolved shootings continued through the fall in impoverished Black neighborhoods across St. Louis and in Kansas City, Kan., 250 miles west. The authorities had no suspect and few clues, but the Missouri shootings had one critical thing in common: .40-caliber Smith & Wesson cartridge casings from the same handgun had been found at each location.

On Monday, law enforcement authorities in Missouri announced that they had arrested and charged a 25-year-old man suspected of killing six people and injuring two others in what appeared to be a series of random attacks.

The man, Perez D. Reed, who turns 26 on Wednesday, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder after the police tracked his cellphone and arrested him carrying a weapon that had been linked to all six shootings in Missouri.

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