Map of freeway shootings; suspect linked to first 4

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Since Aug. 29, there have been 11 confirmed shootings of vehicles in the Phoenix area involving bullets or other projectiles. Most occurred along Interstate 10, a major route through the city.

On Friday, following the arrest of freeway shooting suspect Leslie Allen Merritt, DPS said that he is forensically linked to the first four.

[READ: DPS: I-10 shooting suspect 'forensically linked' to first 4 shootings]     

At a news conference, Arizona Department of Public Safety director Col. Frank Milstead said: "Over the last two weeks Arizonans have been terrified by shootings on Interstate 10 along with copycats. The weapon and the man we believe is responsible for these shootings in Arizona is in custody."

"He is in custody because the weapon that he owned is forensically linked to these crimes," Milstead continued. 

The shootings started on the I-10. As for the first four, in which Merritt was allegedly involved, there were 3 on on August 29 and one on August 31.

Although most of the shootings were along I-10, DPS also investigated reports of additional shootings on the 202, the 17,  and the 51.

There have been no serious injuries reported in any of the shootings, though a 13-year-old girl's ear was cut by glass after a bullet shattered a window of a vehicle she was riding in.

The shootings have prompted several school districts to keep their buses off freeways, and some motorists have altered their commutes to avoid driving I-10.


Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said that motorists should remain vigilant. The signs on the freeways urging caution will remain up, Graves said.

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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