INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (WDAF-TV) -- Jackson County prosecutors charged Christopher Taylor, 39, with the murder of Whitney Gray, 22 a mother of two, killed Sunday night in Independence in front of her two sons.
On Sunday night, Gray and her two sons, Bentley, 6-months-old, and Junior, 3, were in their minivan near Winner Road and Sterling Avenue. According to court documents, another passenger inside Gray's minivan threw a drink at Taylor's car. Police believe Taylor then opened fire on the minivan, striking Whitney Gray.
"The oldest boy, all he could do was say, 'Mama, Mama, Mama!'" said John Rodgers, a witness.
Taylor was located in South Dakota and, as of Tuesday, was awaiting extradition back to Independence to face the charges. Meanwhile, Gray's family is trying to cope with their painful loss and carry her children through the grief.
"She was an amazing person. She was the best mom I knew," said Dylan Gray, Whitney's brother. "Just full of joy. Just happy."
Balloons and flowers now mark the spot where police say Whitney Gray lost her life.
"Doing nothing. Driving home," said Dylan Gray. "I'm angry. It doesn't make sense."
Prosecutors say Taylor was following Gray's vehicle closely and at one point tried to pass her on the right and almost caused an accident.
According to court documents, witnesses also told police they saw Whitney's 16-year-old niece throw some type of liquid onto Taylor's SUV. Witnesses say moments later Taylor pulled out a gun and shot Whitney Gray in her chest.
Whitney Gray stopped her van in a nearby front yard. Strangers, like Spencer Warren, came to help. He jumped off his motorcycle to try to save her.
"Mortally wounded. She controlled her vehicle," said Warren, "And got out on her own two feet, shot in the chest."
Dylan Gray raced to the scene, worried about Whitney and the children. He soon learned his sister died in front of her children.
"The baby, he's too young to really understand," said Dylan. "The other one was just probably in shock."
Gray was shot once in the chest; bullet holes could be seen in her windshield. Her children were not hurt.
Whitney Gray leaves five siblings. Family and friends of the victim set up a GoFundMe for Gray and her young sons. Click here to donate.
Christopher P. Taylor is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the case. After releasing a surveillance photo of the suspect vehicle, a tipster told police Taylor had one. When Taylor did not show up for work on Monday, he became a suspect and was located in South Dakota, about 700 miles north of Independence, Mo., by U.S. Marshals.
Prosecutors have requested a bond of $100,000 cash for Taylor.