Police question man in freeway shootings

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Shopping center parking lot at 107th Avenue and Indian School Road where people were detained (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Shopping center parking lot at 107th Avenue and Indian School Road where people were detained (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source:KPHO/KTVK) (Source:KPHO/KTVK)
(Source:KPHO/KTVK) (Source:KPHO/KTVK)
(Source:KPHO/KTVK) (Source:KPHO/KTVK)
PHOENIX (AP) -

Police swarmed a convenience store near Interstate 10, detained a man and seized his white Chevrolet Tahoe on Friday, raising hopes of a resolution to the freeway shootings rattling Phoenix.

A man and woman were taken into custody for questioning, but Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said only the man is of interest to investigators.

The man was booked into a Phoenix jail on unrelated charges Friday night, DPS officials said. They didn't release his name or the charges but said their investigation into the freeway shootings "has not been closed."

Graves said earlier Friday that the SUV was being examined for any evidence that might connect it to 11 confirmed shootings on the city's freeways in the last two weeks.

[Raw video: DPS briefing on freeway shootings detainee]

Witnesses said law enforcement officers seemed to be waiting for the man to appear and moved in quickly, surrounding his SUV with unmarked vehicles.

"What you saw occur today is a result of a lot of troopers on the road, a lot of detectives on the road, a lot of undercover and marked vehicles, just a lot of work by our detectives trying to solve this case," Graves said.

The man, who has not been identified, complained that officers had been aggressive with him, aggravating his back injury. Speaking from the back of a squad car after being apprehended, he said officers surrounded him and his mother, guns drawn, after he bought a pack of cigarettes and a drink.

Josie Duarte had thought something was odd when she arrived for work at a nearby dental clinic earlier Friday and noticed 10 unmarked cars along with a marked police truck parked behind her office. She only realized what was up when she saw the same cars swarm the parking lot of the Chevron station and convenience store.

Marco Mansilla watched it unfold while getting coffee at an adjacent McDonald's. The lot was suddenly teeming with law enforcement, and when he tried to leave, an officer told him to "go back in the store. It's not safe."

Mansilla said he asked an officer, "What happened? Is that the sniper guy?" He said the officer declined to answer, saying only "enjoy your breakfast."

On his way back to his window-tinting business across the street, Mansilla said he saw the man sitting inside a police car while four officers watched over the woman, who was in handcuffs.

"She was in shock," Mansilla said.

Store clerk Sara Kaur said she was the one who sold the man some cigarettes, at about 9:15 a.m., moments before between 15 to 20 cars swarmed in and officers handcuffed him. She described him as being about 30 years old and a regular customer, and said she's "never had a problem with him."

Graves said officers investigating the shootings will remain on patrol and his agency will keep posting freeway billboard messages urging the public to come forward with any tips.

"This is an ongoing investigation," he said Friday.

[RELATED: Freeway drivers still asked to be vigilant]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Freeway shootings]

[SLIDESHOW: AZ freeway shootings]

Phoenix drivers have been unnerved since the shootings began Aug. 29, mostly along I-10, a major route through the city. Many drivers have avoided freeways since then. Eight of the cars were hit with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets. One girl's ear was cut by glass as a bullet shattered her window.

Authorities appealed for help through social media, news conferences, TV interviews and freeway message boards, whose messages morphed from "report suspicious activity" to "shooting tips" to the more ominous "I-10 shooter tip line."

Many of the thousands of tips proved to be false leads. In Arizona, windshields are frequently cracked by loose rocks sent airborne by the tires of other vehicles.

The shootings haven't fit any obvious pattern. Bullets have been fired at various times of the day, striking a seemingly random assortment of vehicles, from an empty bus to tractor-trailers to pickup trucks, cars and SUVs.

Longtime residents still remember a string of random shootings that terrorized Phoenix a decade ago. Nearly 30 people were shot then, and eight killed, including a cyclist who was riding down the street and a man who was sleeping at a bus stop. Two men were eventually caught and convicted.

---

Associated Press writers Terry Tang and Brian Skoloff contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

---

Police swarmed a convenience store near Interstate 10, detained a man and seized his white Chevrolet Tahoe on Friday, raising hopes of a resolution to the freeway shootings rattling Phoenix.

A man and woman were taken into custody for questioning, but Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said only the man is currently of interest to investigators.

The man has not been arrested, but his questioning could continue for hours, and the SUV is being examined for any evidence that might connect it to 11 confirmed shootings on the city's freeways in the last two weeks, Graves said.

[Raw video: DPS briefing on freeway shootings detainee]

Witnesses said law enforcement officers seemed to be waiting for the man to appear and moved in quickly, surrounding his SUV with unmarked vehicles.

The man, who has not been identified, complained that officers had been aggressive with him, aggravating his back injury. Speaking briefly from the back of a squad car after being apprehended, he said officers surrounded him and his mother, guns drawn, after he bought a pack of cigarettes and a drink.

Josie Duarte had thought something was odd when she arrived for work at a nearby dental clinic earlier Friday and noticed 10 unmarked cars along with a marked squad truck parked behind her office. She only realized what was up when she saw the same cars swarm the parking lot of the Chevron station and convenience store.

Marco Mansilla watched it unfold while getting coffee at an adjacent McDonald's. The lot was suddenly teeming with law enforcement, and when he tried to leave, an officer told him to "go back in the store. It's not safe."

Mansilla said he asked an officer, "What happened? Is that the sniper guy?" He said the officer declined to answer, saying only "enjoy your breakfast."

On his way back to his window-tinting business across the street, Mansilla said he saw the man sitting inside a police car while four officers watched over the woman, who was in handcuffs.

"She was in shock," Mansilla said.

Store clerk Sara Kaur said she was the one who sold the man some cigarettes, at about 9:15 a.m., moments before between 15 to 20 cars swarmed in and officers handcuffed him. She described him as being about 30 years old and a regular customer, and said she's "never had a problem with him."

Graves said officers investigating the shootings will remain on patrol and his agency will keep posting freeway billboard messages urging the public to come forward with any tips.

"This is an ongoing investigation," he said Friday.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Freeway shootings]

[SLIDESHOW: AZ freeway shootings]

Phoenix drivers have been unnerved since the shootings began on Aug. 29, mostly along Interstate 10, a major route through the city. Many avoided freeways since then. Eight of the cars were hit with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets. One girl's ear was cut by glass as a bullet shattered her window.

Authorities appealed for help through social media, news conferences, TV interviews and freeway billboards, whose messages morphed from "report suspicious activity" to "shooting tips" to the more ominous "I-10 shooter tip line."

Many of the thousands of tips proved to be false leads. In Arizona, windshields are frequently cracked by loose rocks sent airborne by the tires of other vehicles.

The shootings haven't fit any obvious pattern. Bullets have been fired at various times of the day, striking a seemingly random assortment of vehicles, from an empty bus to tractor-trailers to pickup trucks, cars and SUVs.

Longtime residents still remember the random shootings that terrorized Phoenix a decade ago. Nearly 30 people were shot then, and eight killed, including a cyclist who was riding down the street and a man who was sleeping at a bus stop. Two men were eventually caught and convicted.

---

Associated Press writers Terry Tang and Brian Skoloff contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

---

Police swarmed a convenience store near Interstate 10 in Phoenix, detained a man and woman and seized their white Chevrolet Tahoe on Friday, raising hopes of a resolution to the freeway shootings rattling Phoenix for the past two weeks.

The man and woman had been together, but Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said only the man is currently of interest to investigators seeking anyone responsible for 11 vehicle shootings in Phoenix.

Graves said the man has not been arrested, but his questioning could continue for hours. Graves said he didn't know the status of the woman. He said their SUV is being examined for any evidence that might connect it to the freeway shootings.

Marco Mansilla watched it unfold while getting coffee at the McDonald's connected to the convenience store. The parking lot was suddenly swarming with law enforcement officers and their vehicles, and when he tried to leave, an officer told him to "go back in the store. It's not safe."

Mansilla said he was allowed to leave shortly thereafter, and asked an officer, "What happened? Is that the sniper guy?" The officer declined to answer and just said "enjoy your breakfast."

On his way back to his window-tinting business across the street, Mansilla said he saw the man sitting inside a police car while four officers watched over the woman, who was in handcuffs.

"She was in shock," Mansilla said.

Convenience store clerk Sara Kaur sold the man a pack of cigarettes at about 9:15 a.m., moments before between 15 to 20 cars swarmed and handcuffed him. She described him as being about 30 years old and a regular customer and said she's "never had a problem with him."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Freeway shootings]

[SLIDESHOW: AZ freeway shootings]

Eight of the cars shot since Aug. 29 were hit with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets. One girl's face was cut by glass as a bullet shattered her window.

Authorities appealed for help through social media, news conferences, TV interviews and freeway billboards, whose messages morphed from "report suspicious activity" to "shooting tips" to the more ominous "I-10 shooter tip line."

Many of the thousands of tips proved to be false leads based on road hazards routine in Arizona, like windshields cracked by loose rocks sent airborne by the tires of other vehicles.

On Thursday alone, drivers reported possible shootings of an armored truck, two cars and two tractor-trailers. Authorities and TV crews scrambled to these scenes, only to discover minor damage.

The shootings haven't fit any obvious pattern. Most happened on Interstate 10, a main route through Phoenix. Bullets have been fired at various times of the day, striking a seemingly random assortment of vehicles, from an empty bus to tractor-trailers to pickup trucks, cars and SUVs.

Helicopters have been flying up and down Interstate 10 as officers scan a wall of TV monitors carrying live surveillance video from every freeway in the metropolitan area. The FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the hunt.

"We have a number of officers ... both uniformed, non-uniformed, plainclothes, undercover vehicles, marked vehicles on the road patrolling, looking for the suspect, looking for leads," Graves said Thursday.

Longtime residents still remember the random shootings that terrorized Phoenix a decade ago. Nearly 30 people were shot then, and eight killed, including a cyclist who was riding down the street and a man who was sleeping at a bus stop. Two men were eventually caught and convicted.

---

Associated Press writers Terry Tang and Brian Skoloff contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

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