Miss. officials urge drivers to use caution pulling over for flashing lights

(WMC-TV) – The Mississippi Highway Patrol is warning drivers to be cautious while being pulled over as they investigate two deadly highway shootings.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol's Bureau of Investigation said there are similarities between both incidents.

"The concern is that someone is posing as a law enforcement officer and that is how these vehicles end up on the side of the road," said MBI Director Lt. Col. Larry Waggoner in a written statement.

Both deadly shootings happened on Mississippi highways.

"I know there are a lot of rumors. We don't know anything right now that is concrete. Due to some of the evidence at the scene, lead us to believe both subjects that were killed were on the side of the road. You can speculate about different things. We are not eliminating anything as a possibility on how they got on the side of the road," said John Champion, district attorney.

On May 8, Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Nebraska, was found dead in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County. On May 11, Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, was found dead in her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in Tunica County. Both shootings happened in the early morning hours.

The victims did not know each other and the shootings happened 55 miles apart.

The Tate County Sheriff's Office posted a warning for drivers 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 cell phone 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."

They also said their deputies have been told not to overreact if someone does not immediately pull over.

"If you do feel like there is a problem, or that you're worried about being pulled over, you have a right to put on your flashing lights and to pull to a lighted, well populated, safe area," said District Attorney John Champion.

DeSoto County also issued the same warning and is ceasing the use of all the county's unmarked patrol cars.

Authorities do not have any witnesses, but said the killer may be driving a light-colored Crown Victoria.

A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information can contact 1-888-8CRIMES.

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