New documents reveal what I-10 shootings suspect Leslie Merritt Jr. allegedly told police during his interrogation. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -
Investigation documents released by the Arizona Department of Public Safety this week show what the I-10 freeway shooting suspect told police during his interrogation.
The 1,200+ page investigation report also details interviews with Leslie Merritt Jr., his wife and co-workers.
Merritt Jr. vehemently denied being responsible for the August 29 and 30 freeway shootings that terrorized the Valley.
Merritt Jr. was arrested outside a Wal-mart on September 18. Detectives interrogated him after the arrest.
"I have never fired a shot on the freeway," Merritt told detectives according to the investigation report. "Dude, that's just - I'm telling you, that's the stupidest (expletive) anybody could do.”
Merritt also claimed he hadn’t fired his 9mm Hi-Point handgun in the previous two months before his arrest. According to the documents, he did, however, admit to carrying the weapon almost everywhere he went before pawning the gun in Phoenix following several of the freeway shootings.
"I don't shoot my gun in the city like that. That's just stupid. That's just - I'm not that dumb man,” Merritt Jr. allegedly told detectives.
However, police have said between August 29 and August 30 of last summer four cars were shot while driving along various stretches of the I-10. Detectives found bullets and bullet fragments in each case. Ballistics tests matched all of them to Merritt Jr.'s 9mm handgun, according to the investigation documents. According to DPS, Merritt Jr. pawned the gun in Phoenix right after the shootings started.
After Merritt Jr.’s arrest, his wife visited him in jail and their conversation was recorded.
“So, I got my alibis, Tio Tony, Tia Sophie, and TJ, to say that, yes, we were there, Saturday and Sunday. I got my dad too,” said a quote from the report attributed to Merritt Jr.’s wife during a visit with Merritt Jr. behind bars.
But the investigation documents also said phone records show Merritt Jr. and his wife were not at the places mentioned in her alibi on August 29.
Merritt Jr.’s attorneys were not able to comment on this story because they’re under gag order from the court. Merritt Jr. is due back in court March 24.
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