Phoenix freeway shootings
The Phoenix freeway shootings, also known as the I-10 shootings, were a series of eleven incidents that occurred between August 27 and September 10, 2015, along Interstate 10 and State Route 202 in Phoenix, Arizona. Each incident resulted in projectile damage to cars, and one girl was injured.
|Phoenix freeway shootings|
The Mini Stack, near where numerous shootings occurred
A map of freeways in Phoenix, including other roads investigated in connection with the shootings
|Location||Interstate 10, State Route 202, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|Date||August 27, 2015– September 10, 2015|
|Target||Vehicles along local freeways|
Beginning on August 27, eleven shootings occurred: eight by bullets and three by unspecified projectiles. Ten of the incidents occurred on Interstate 10, while the eleventh was on State Route 202. The final shooting occurred on September 10.
On September 11, a man and woman driving a car were taken into custody in relation to the shootings. The woman was later released, but the 19-year-old male suspect was kept in police custody, as sources stated that he boasted about the shootings to friends. He was later arrested on an unrelated marijuana charge.
Road debris shattering windows also played a role in the investigation, as shattered windows were often investigated as being part of the spree. For example, on September 16 a driver reported his windows being shot by a car that he was seeking to pass, but police later stated that road debris caused the window damage.
Three 18-year-olds with a slingshot were arrested on September 13 on claims that they had been making copycat attacks, and the three admitted to targeting cars and pedestrians. They were later released.
Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr., age 21, was arrested in Glendale on September 18. Police initially claimed that Merritt held anti-government and anti-police views. One day after his arrest, police announced that they had linked the first four shootings to a pistol owned by Merritt. He was charged with fifteen felony counts, including carrying out a drive-by shooting, aggravated assault, unlawfully discharging a firearm, disorderly conduct, and endangerment; prosecutors also considered filing terrorism charges, but ultimately did not, as terrorism-related laws focused primarily on protecting public utilities and did not encompass freeway shootings. All charges were dropped in April 2016, and Merritt later filed a lawsuit against state officials.
- Serial Shooter, a similar crime spree that occurred from 2005 to 2006 in the Phoenix area
- Ohio highway sniper attacks, a similar crime spree that occurred in 2003 along Interstate 270 in Ohio
- Maryvale serial shooter, a similar crime spree that occurred in 2016 in Phoenix, mainly the Maryvale neighborhood.
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- "DPS investigating shattered window on I-10". KNXV. September 16, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
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- Davenport, Paul (September 18, 2015). "Police Arrest Suspect in String of Phoenix Freeway Shootings". abcnews.com. ABC.
- "Phoenix freeway-shootings suspect Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. tied to first 4 incidents". AZCentral. September 19, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- Berry, Walter (September 25, 2015). "Suspect in 4 of 11 Phoenix freeway shootings is indicted". Yahoo! News. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
- "Phoenix freeway shootings update: Charges filed against suspect, Leslie Allen Merritt". ABC15. September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
- "Former freeway shooting suspect sues Arizona, county". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 22, 2016.