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Ohio Sniper Suspect Caught in Las Vegas

Ohio sniper suspect Charles A. McCoy Jr. (search), believed to have carried out two dozen shootings that left one woman dead and terrorized a community, was caught early Wednesday morning in Las Vegas.

Authorities planned to extradite him to Ohio where the crimes occurred, said Franklin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Steve Martin, who has been leading the investigation.

McCoy Jr. was arrested at the Budget Suites motel near the Stardust casino, two days after the 28-year-old was named as the prime suspect in the 10-month string of shootings.

"We got him in custody without incident," said Las Vegas police Lt. Christopher Van Cleef.

McCoy was taken to the county jail after being held for several hours at the FBI office. He was scheduled to appear in court Friday and could be extradited to Ohio as soon as the weekend, officials said.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office received more than 5,000 leads in the case, including claims that McCoy was the sniper and tips about where he was staying in Las Vegas, Martin said in a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Martin wouldn't elaborate further on the tips his office received during the investigation. He said the case was now in the hands of the county prosecutor, but the existing tip line would remain open for a while longer.

Police spokesman Jose Montoya told Fox News that authorities were "in the process of interviewing" McCoy.

"He wasn't armed, but we haven't been in the motel room or his vehicle yet," Van Cleef said. He said police impounded a 1999 Geo Metro that McCoy was driving.

Authorities had said McCoy had a history of mental illness and was believed to be armed, with "suicidal or homicidal tendencies."

Martin declined to comment on McCoy's mental state Wednesday.

The suspect's family disputed the fact that he was suicidal or homicidal, calling McCoy troubled but peaceful.

"I knew it would happen without incident because he was a very passive individual," McCoy's sister Amy Walton said in a television interview. "This came as a great shock to our family."

When asked what she would say to her brother, Walton said, "We can't wait to talk to you. Everything will be OK."

A son of Gail Knisley, the only person who died in the highway shootings, said Wednesday her loved ones appreciated the support from the community, the media and law enforcement, but added that their lives had been indelibly changed by the sniper.

"Words will never be able to describe the pain and loneliness we have felt since Nov. 25," said Tim Knisley at Wednesday's news conference. "Life in the Knisley family will never be the same."

He described his mother as "kind, generous and loving — the best woman in the world."

Police have not suggested a motive for the sniper attacks, and few details have emerged about their suspect.

Cops were told of McCoy's whereabouts by a person who recognized him from media reports linking him to the string of Ohio highway shootings, Fox News confirmed.

Conrad Malsom (search), 60, of Las Vegas said he told authorities he met McCoy at the Stardust casino late Tuesday. He said he offered McCoy a slice of pizza, but then recognized the disheveled-looking man with a darkening beard from photographs in newspapers.

McCoy was reading a copy of USA Today that featured his photograph, Malsom said.

"In my heart and mind, I knew this was the man the police in Ohio were looking for," Malsom said.

He said McCoy told him his name was "Mike." When he left the casino, Malsom found "bizarre writing" on a 8½-by-14-inch sports betting sheet the man left behind.

"There was writing — it filled the whole sheet — about 30 lines," Malsom said.

"Each line started with 'You' or 'You are' but you can't read it, you can't read any of it," he said of the illegible scribble.

He said he turned the sheet over to authorities, along with a water glass, match book and lunch wrappers that McCoy left behind.

FBI special agent Todd Palmer said McCoy is being processed in the agency's office and likely will be transferred to the U.S. attorney's office.

"They'll be in communication with the Columbus U.S. attorney," Palmer said.

McCoy was identified as a suspect Monday, when authorities released his picture, vehicle description and license plate. A bulletin to police departments said McCoy was believed to have mental health problems, a semiautomatic pistol and ammunition.

Authorities haven't said what evidence led them to McCoy. An arrest warrant charges McCoy with felonious assault in a shooting with a 9 mm handgun that damaged a house Dec. 15.

Criminal psychologist Alan Lipman (search) told Fox News that reports of McCoy's mental illness could be the key to uncovering the shooter's motives and understanding him.

"Paranoid schizophrenia makes someone violent, makes someone impulsive and makes someone unsophisticated," Lipman said.

"He went into the Budget hotel in Las Vegas and gave them his own name. This is not someone who's a cool, methodical killer. This is someone who got out of control."

The 24 shootings around several highways on the southern outskirts of Columbus pierced homes and a school, dented school buses, flattened tires and shattered windshields. The shootings began in May.

The shootings prompted commuters to take back roads and schools to cancel classes and hold recess indoors. Police increased patrols and offered a $60,000 reward. The state installed cameras on poles along Interstate 270.

The only person struck, Gail Knisley, 62, was killed as a friend drove her to a doctor's appointment Nov. 25. Lab tests showed that bullets from nine of the shootings — including Knisley's death — were fired from the same gun.

Until January, the gunfire was scattered along or near Interstate 270, the busy highway that encircles Columbus. The last four shootings had moved toward the southwest on I-71.

Fox News' Anna Stolley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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