BENSON — A Benson man faces multiple felony charges related to a drive-by shooting and illegal possession of a handgun in late August.
Mark Lee Whitcup, 46, made an initial appearance last week in Swift County District Court on felony charges of drive-by shooting toward a motor vehicle, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and possessing a firearm or ammunition after being convicted of a violent crime. He is also charged with fifth-degree drug possession.
The same hearing included review of felony charges from December 2019 of first-degree drug sale, first-degree drug possession and fleeing in a motor vehicle.
The next court hearing for the August charges will be Oct. 13. On the drug charges, Whitcup has a Dec. 1 court date. He is currently in custody in the Traverse County Jail on $60,000 bail.
Whitcup is not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition because of previous convictions for violent crimes.
According to court records, a man reported Aug. 30 that Whitcup had shot at vehicles outside his home. The man said he, his pregnant girlfriend and two children were in the home.
The man said he had found a bullet hole in his vehicle which appeared to have gone through the outside of the car and entered the interior of the car and another bullet by his motorcycle, according to the criminal complaint.
The man showed a deputy some text messages he had received from Whitcup, who was allegedly upset about the relationship between the man and his girlfriend. In one text, “expect a bullet ... you want her it’s your death.” He later texted “Three people will die today.”
The man showed the deputy video surveillance of his house from that day and the previous day. The man said Whitcup allegedly knew where the blind spot was.
The video showed a vehicle entering the driveway. The driver had an arm out the window and could be seen holding a gun. The vehicle was not in view of the cameras when the gun was fired, but the man’s car had a visible new hole after the vehicle had gone by.
According to the criminal complaint, the men later exchanged text messages, with the alleged victim asking “How many more rounds are you going to pump into my sh** or me?”
Whitcup responded,” Who cares it’s a car, you put a hole in my life.”
The man played a video from the previous day showing Whitcup at the alleged victim’s property using a handgun to shoot at a rabbit.
The day after the shooting, Whitcup was involved in a high-speed chase in the same car seen on the surveillance video. Ammunition was found in the vehicle, and he was tested for gun residue on his hands.
The drug charges stem from a traffic stop in December. A deputy could smell marijuana and asked if there was anything illegal inside, according to the criminal complaint. Whitcup allegedly became agitated and drove off. The deputy followed until Whitcup crashed into a snowbank.
Whitcup was placed under arrest, and found to be carrying $1,500. According to court records, he said he had $5,000 in the vehicle.
Law enforcement searched the route of the chase and found several baggies containing a white crystalline substance which tested positive for methamphetamine. The total weight of the baggies and their contents was 83.15 grams, about 3 ounces.