COLUMBIA — Police arrested Zachariah Joel Peterson of Columbia on an outstanding warrant and are questioning him in connection with the slaying of James Leon Porter.
Police are still looking for Peterson’s vehicle, which witnesses at the southeast Columbia trailer park where Porter was killed say they saw speeding from the scene, said Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jill Wieneke on Wednesday.
The vehicle is a dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe with Missouri license plate WF9X5M, Wieneke said.
Wieneke said a caller reported seeing Peterson walking on Providence Road after seeing his picture on the news.
Porter, 31, of Columbia, was shot multiple times Tuesday, Wieneke said.
Investigators learned that Porter had been in contact with Peterson, 22, earlier on Tuesday, Wieneke said.
Police were looking for Peterson to determine his possible involvement in Porter’s slaying, she said. Wieneke said officers considered Peterson armed, with violent tendencies.
“We can’t even really say that he’s a suspect,” Wieneke said. “It’s hard to say at this point. He could have been a witness to the homicide. It’s not out of the question to say he witnessed it and left.”
The warrant Peterson was arrested on was for a felony charge of resisting arrest during a separate incident.
On Dec. 8, an officer pulled Peterson over, smelled marijuana and asked him to step out of his car, Wieneke said. Peterson slammed the door and drove off. The officer chased Peterson but gave up when the pursuit became dangerous to other drivers, she said.
The car, containing bags of marijuana, was later found abandoned in front of a house on Northland Drive, she said.
“We are still going down the route of trying to contact people (Porter) had contact with, trying to find out where he went and what he did in the hours before he was killed,” Wieneke said.