Single post

Oct 12th Shootings on Interstate 10 After a Dozen Other Incidents On Same Freeway

Interstate 10 in Arizona has become a notorious strip of pavement for violent gun crimes with over a dozen different shootings within the last few weeks. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the latest episode of violence took place recently on October 12th after a passenger in a sedan was reported to have been firing a handgun out of the window along the highway.

After a second report of gunfire, a police helicopter tracked the sedan to a nearby apartment complex, where two suspects were immediately taken into custody. 45 minutes later, they apprehended a third suspect connected to the highway shootings.

Phoenix Police Collecting Evidence from Fired Bullets Along I-10

While no drivers on the highway were injured during the gun firings, it was a near miss that could have ended in accidental tragedy. Another vehicle traveling along Interstate 10 had been struck by a stray bullet at some point during the incident, and the round was still embedded in the side of the vehicle. The Phoenix Police Department collected it as evidence in the investigation.

At this point, the Phoenix Police Department sees “no link at this point” to the other 11 similar shootings that occurred on Interstate 11 within just a two-week period. But this latest shooting on October 12th is the most recent in an alarmingly growing list of similar gun-related incidents, and local authorities are concerned for the safety of the community and for travelers on the suddenly dangerous area of Interstate 10.

Shooters Appear to Have No Connection In “Isolated” Copycat Incidents

Almost exactly a month earlier on the same area of Interstate 10 in a similar scenario, a Phoenix sniper was taking random shots at drivers. According to Col. Frank Milstead, the Arizona director of public safety, it’s an act of “domestic terrorism crimes” derived from the desire to cause fear and garner attention.

Even more frightening is the fact the shooters are believed to be unrelated copycats of one another, with different M.O.’s. Seven of the Interstate 10 shooters have been firing bullets, while others have been firing “unspecified projectiles” which could possibly be BBs or other kinds of pellets. But the shootings, while intending to harm innocent drivers passing along Interstate 10, appear to be “recreational” in nature.

As creepy as that is, authorities say that it’s lucky that no one has been more seriously injured or killed. So far, the only worrisome injury was that of a 13-year-old girl who sustained lacerations when a bullet shattered the window of her car on Interstate 10.

Another man was driving an empty bus when a bullet struck his car seat from behind. It was inches from striking the driver, but the car seat luckily managed to stop the bullet.

One Suspect Apprehended for 4 Earlier Shootings, 7 Unidentified Suspects Still At Large

In the most frightening fact of all: there are no suspects in the recent shootings, other than those apprehended in the most recent incident. There aren’t even any descriptions of suspects’ cars. Most of the drivers whose cars were shot at or hit were simply traveling along Interstate 10 at the times of the incidents, and it all happened too quickly to obtain any concrete details that could help identify a suspect.

The Interstate 10 shootings began on August 29th. The Arizona Police Department has detectives investigating nearby pawn shops that could be connected to firearms matching the make and caliber that were identified from the collected rounds fired into cars.

So far, they’ve successfully matched the fired rounds to a specific model of gun that led them to arrest Leslie Allen Merrit Junior, 21. Crime lab analysis revealed that a firearm collected from Merrit matched bullet fragments collected from the first four of the Interstate 10 shooting cases within that one late August weekend.

Merrit has since pleaded not guilty to the four shootings, and police do not believe him to be a suspect in the other seven shootings. They believe the other shootings to be the work of copycats, and are likely unrelated to each other; instead feeding off of the ensuing chaos.

Shootings Have Different M.O.’s and Perpetrators: Authorities Offer Reward for Information

Fortunately, the only lasting effects of the dozen shootings on Interstate 10 over the last several weeks have been an overwhelming number of shattered windows, windshields, and pierced cars. All of which the police say, were near-misses, as the shooters seem to be intending to harm passengers.

Some have been incidents of “road rage,” with motorists brandishing guns at fellow drivers on the Interstate, while others have been sniper attacks. But with a dozen vehicles struck by bullets along the same strip of Interstate 10, and Phoenix authorities working around the clock to locate suspects from bullet fragments, the fear of further shootings persists.

Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for anyone with any information that could lead to the identification of a suspect, and Gov. Doug Ducey appealed to the public for help in a Tweet he recently sent out:

“The safety of Arizonans is our number one priority. If you have ANY information about the I-10 shootings call@Arizona_DPS at 602-644-5805”

theme by teslathemes