(Recasting with additional details, quotes from police throughout)
By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 17 (Reuters) - A man suspected in a recent spate of seemingly random shootings that left three people wounded in and around Kansas City, Missouri, mostly on highways and roads, was arrested on Thursday but not formally charged, Police Chief Darryl Forte said.
The announcement came nearly six weeks after the first in a string of about 20 shootings - a dozen of which police said they believed were connected - that have put the Kansas City area on edge since March 8.
Forte praised investigators for achieving a break in the case in a "very short period of time."
"We wanted to make sure the residents and those people who travel through Kansas City know they are safe," he said.
But in brief remarks to reporters outside the suspect's home, where the arrest was made, Forte revealed few additional details about the case or the individual they had in custody.
A police spokesman later described the suspect as a man in his mid-20s.
"We have a person in custody, and that person has not been charged. The investigation is ongoing, we are still looking at evidence. I can't say this is the only suspect. We are always looking," Forte said.
In a Twitter message posted a short time earlier announcing the arrest for the first time, the chief said: "Highway shooter suspect in custody."
All but three of the shootings occurred in Kansas City, and most occurred on highways and at night. Three people were struck by gunfire in connection with the incidents, though police said none of the injuries was life-threatening.
Police have not discussed the specific links they found between the 12 shootings they said appeared to be related. And they have revealed few details about the circumstances of the shootings, such as what kind of weapon was used or whether shots were fired by a sniper or from a vehicle.
Some motorists have reported their vehicles being struck by bullets just a short time apart. On March 18, for example, a man was shot in the leg while driving between Kansas City and the suburb of Blue springs, Missouri, and 30 minutes later two rounds were fired at another vehicle, police said.
There have been no reported related shootings since Kansas City police went public with their investigation last Friday.
The investigation has included local police and federal agents. (Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Ken Wills)