FEMALE GANGSTA (MOST FEARED WOMAN IN AMERICA)
Sources: Christine Vendel, Tony Rizzo and John Schultz @ The Kansas City Star
A woman alleged to be “right in the middle” of recent gang violence continues to elude Kansas City police, who worry that she may have more targets in mind. She has a hit list of several of her perceived "enemies."
They believe she’s back in town after fleeing to Iowa to hide from a murder charge. She may have shaved her head and begun dressing like a man (pictured above) to avoid arrest, police said.
They hope national attention can end the six-month cat-and-mouse game, so they are turning to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitive list for help.
Police said Tuesday they submitted the required paperwork to FBI officials, who will consider adding Shauntay L. Henderson, 24, to the list alongside such notable criminals as Osama bin Laden and Boston-area mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger.
The FBI would have to drop a current fugitive to make room. But if Henderson is added, the reward for information leading to her capture will jump to $50,000. She would be only the eighth woman to make the list in the program’s 57-year history.
Police believe she is involved in five murders, including the one for which she was charged last year, and up to 50 shootings.
Authorities describe her as a loner with intensely loyal followers who fear or respect her. She’s also loyal to former partners in crime who have been imprisoned, police said.
There’s enough fear of her that even her enemies don’t share what they know, police said.
“We’ve had people shot and they don’t say a word, then we hear inklings she’s responsible,” said Sgt. Richard Sharp of the assault squad, one of several police units working to put her behind bars.
The recent publicity has brought in a trickle of calls about Henderson. Before this month, police had received none.
A tipster called in a possible sighting Tuesday of Henderson at a gas station. But the person was gone when police arrived.
Also Tuesday, police released a computer-altered photo of Henderson to reflect how she may have changed her appearance.
They fear she patiently is awaiting the opportunity to shoot at three more rivals.
Henderson is after certain people for various reasons, police said. She may think some shot at her relatives last year. She may also be targeting others because they were rivals of one of her closest friends, and one of Kansas City’s most violent criminals, Steve L. Wright, Jr., who was recently sentenced to federal prison for three murders and other crimes.
“He’s kind of her mentor,” Sharp said.
She appears proud of her newfound notoriety, based on what’s posted on a popular social networking site, MySpace. The page about her used to refer to Henderson as “Who Dat Girl,” but someone updated it March 4, the day after police first released her mug shot and sought the public’s help finding her.
Now the page calls her “Girl on the news.”
The page presents Henderson as a small-time rap act. One of its latest entries stated: “Me the star of all yo local stations.” The mug shot police released of her March 3 is posted there.
When federal authorities filed a warrant last week charging her with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, they noted that Henderson had relatives or associates in Iowa and may have recently used a computer in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
One of her rap songs plays once the page is loaded. According to the text, she is slated to play a March 24 gig at a club in Lawrence. The ticket prices, however, seem to indicate an inside joke. It said tickets are $12 in advance and $51 at the door — possible references to the 12th Street gang and its 51st Street affiliates.
Police believe she’s a leader of the 12th Street gang, which operates near 12th Street and the Paseo. The 51st Street gang operates near 51st from Walrond to Brooklyn avenues. Those gangs linked up to make more money in drug and criminal ventures, police said.
Those gangs also are feuding with gangs near 33rd Street and Indiana Avenue. Other gangs believed to be involved in some recent shootings come from the area near 24th Street and Norton Avenue.
The MySpace page also features three automated photo slide shows, including an homage to Henderson’s 12th Street neighborhood, and a series of personal pictures. Some others photos show suspected criminals, including one man charged in a 2005 murder.
The Web address for the Henderson Web page reads, in part: 12blasttras — which police say is a reference to the 12th Street gang blasting members of a gang called tra (pronounced tray) walls.
Under interests, Henderson lists money and “tha hood.”
Police said Henderson grew up in the Charlie Parker Square housing development and joined a gang at a young age. Her mother died when she was young, and police aren’t sure where her father is.
Police said Henderson “flew under the radar” until the past two years.
Finding her has been a challenge because many people who know her are afraid, investigators say.
“So-called tough gang members are doing her bidding and are afraid to challenge her or come forward,” said police Sgt. Rob Hargarten of Kansas City’s fugitive unit.
Hargarten said Henderson’s family has been “very uncooperative” in finding her.
As they search for clues to Henderson’s whereabouts, police have warned they consider her very dangerous. They say she and her gang affiliates are responsible for several of nine shootings believed to be gang-related that have occurred since Feb. 28.
The most recent occurred Monday at 49th Street and Chestnut Avenue. Two men were injured.
Henderson was charged with second-degree murder in September. According to court records, she shot DeAndre M. Parker, 20, as he sat in a pickup truck in mid-afternoon in a convenience store parking lot in the 3400 block of Red Bridge Road. Nearby customers were not hurt.
A witness told police that a woman walked up to Parker’s vehicle, pulled a handgun and fired three shots. Parker warned a passenger in his truck to duck before he was shot.
According to court documents, Parker’s relatives told police that he had been shot previously by a woman named Shauntay.
Henderson has a minimal criminal record, according to court records.
In 2001, she was charged in Clay County with tampering with an automobile and sentenced to probation, but she was accused of violating probation terms several times.
Jackson County prosecutors charged her with drug possession in 2001, and she failed to complete a court-ordered diversion program, the records show.
She subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five days in jail.
Henderson’s family declined to speak at length with a Star reporter Tuesday.
Update: As we go to press, we have been informed, Federal law enforcement officials and police in Kansas City, Mo. say that one of the most-feared women in America (Shauntay Henderson) has been apprehended.
An anonymous tipster alerted the FBI that Henderson may have been in contact with local police in a suburb of Kansas City over the past several months.
Police are asking that anyone with information about crimes that Henderson may be responsible for or involved in come forward and do the right thing. Now that she's in jail, she can't hurt anyone for telling the truth.
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