Phoenix PD comparing freeway shooter evidence to 2015 murder, other cases

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9 mm Hi-Point handgun. (Source: hi-pointfirearms.com) 9 mm Hi-Point handgun. (Source: hi-pointfirearms.com)
Aaron Juan Saucedo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Aaron Juan Saucedo. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Leslie Merritt, Jr. was arrested in connection to the freeway shootings but charges were dismissed months later. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Leslie Merritt, Jr. was arrested in connection to the freeway shootings but charges were dismissed months later. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Phoenix Police Department has received ballistic evidence from the Department of Public Safety in the freeway shootings investigation.

We have confirmed they are doing a comparative analysis between the ballistic evidence and a 2015 murder case, along with other cases that may be related.

Investigators have said a 9 mm Hi-Point handgun were used in both the 2015 murder of 61-year-old Raul Romero and in four of the freeway shootings. They're looking to see if there may be a link.

Aaron Juan Saucedo was arrested on April 19. Police said ballistic testing linked his 9 mm Hi-Point handgun to the 2015 murder, which happened 11 days before the first freeway shooting incident.

[READ MORE: Phoenix Police make arrest in 2015 murder]

Investigators with the Department of Public Safety arrested Leslie Merritt Jr. after they said bullet fragments found at the scene of four of the freeway shootings matched a gun Merritt had recently pawned. He was arrested in September of 2015 but all charges were dropped in April of 2016.

Merritt's firearm was one of eight Hi-Point 9 millimeter handguns the Department of Public Safety confiscated from Valley pawn shops as part of the freeway shooting investigation. It turns out a Hi-Point 9 mm gun having belonged to Saucedo was also one of the eight.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Phoenix Freeway Shootings]

DPS test fired all eight guns. But, when they got what they said was a match with Merritt's gun, they admit they stopped the comparison testing. 

Two nationally known experts refuted the testing that said there was a match with Merritt's gun; however, the experts also did not rule out Merritt's gun.

The case against Merritt was dismissed. DPS still considers Merritt a suspect. 

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