Mystery remains after cops say soldier from N.J. brutally murdered woman, shot at cars

Police were investigating if an Army Ranger from Wood-Ridge who they say brutally murdered a woman at a motel outside of Seattle and opened fire on motorists before taking his own life could be tied to other crimes.

Investigators named Krishna Mahadevan-Prasad as the suspect who killed the 38-year-old woman July 23 at a Renton, Washington, Econo Lodge Hotel. The woman, whose name has not been released, was found dead in her room with “numerous cut wounds” and signs the body was intentionally mutilated after her death.

Mahadevan-Prasad’s bizarre spree ended the next day when he fired at drivers near the Hood Canal Bridge some 30 miles from Seattle, authorities said.

Armed with a rifle and a shotgun, the soldier fired at a Ford SUV carrying a man who was stopped with his sleeping 5-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, according to the Washington State Patrol.

One round ripped through the driver’s seat headrest and out the front windshield as the motorist was leaning over the passenger seat to check a map, according to police.

Mahadevan-Prasad fired more shots at a Dodge Caravan stopped behind his car, according to the state patrol. A round grazed the man’s elbow.

Police said the barrage of gunfire ended when Mahadevan-Prasad apparently shot himself.

As the investigation continued, it remained unclear why the elite soldier apparently carried out the attacks and police have not revealed any ties between Mahadevan-Prasad and his victims.

“The whole thing’s crazy. If you add up what happened at the Hood Canal, there’s so many unanswered questions,” Renton police Commander Dave Leibman told The Seattle Times.

Police also recovered chilling security footage that showed Mahadevan-Prasad in the slain woman’s hotel room for only three minutes in a different area of the complex from where he was staying.

“The camera shows him knocking on the door and the door opening,” Leibman told the newspaper.

A Washington State Patrol spokeswoman on Thursday said the agency had no new information on the shooting probe. Renton police have asked the public to help track 20-year-old Mahadevan-Prasad’s activities in the time before and after the murder.

“The circumstances of the Renton homicide have investigators concerned that Mahadevan-Prasad may be responsible for other acts of violence,” the department said in a statement. “Mahadevan-Prasad was active duty military and his travels are unknown.”

An Army spokesman did not immediately comment on the investigation. Military records released to Seattle media outlets show Mahadevan-Prasad was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, where he arrived July 10.

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