Freeway shootings have Arizona drivers scared

Posted at 1:37 PM, Sep 10, 2015

Twelve vehicles have been shot or hit with projectiles on highways in the Phoenix area during the past two weeks and police are upping the ante for leads on a suspect.

On Thursday, two separate drivers reported their vehicles being hit by projectiles on Interstate 10. Both incidents are being investigated by police as part of a rash of similar incidents dating back to Aug. 29, according to Phoenix's ABC15 TV (KNXV).

At about 5:30 a.m., a car on I-10 was hit by what was believed to be a BB from a pellet gun, leaving the vehicle with a partially shattered windshield. Shortly after 9 a.m., investigators were called to check out a commercial truck that had apparently previously been hit by a projectile.

According to KNXV, the truck's driver said he noticed a hole in the side of the vehicle while inspecting it.

On Wednesday morning, a pickup truck traveling east on Interstate 10 was hit by a projectile, according to Phoenix's KNXV television. The truck was the third vehicle in two days to be hit by a projectile on I-10 — and the tenth to be hit in the area since Aug. 29.

According to KNXV, seven of the affected vehicles were hit by bullets while three were hit by what are being described as "projectiles." Nine of the incidents — including one of Thursday's reports — occurred on I-10, one on Interstate 17 and another on Arizona state route 202.

On Aug. 29 at 11:10 a.m., an SUV traveling east on I-10 was hit by a bullet fired from an unknown suspect. That marked the first in what Arizona law enforcement officials have labeled as a stretch of "domestic terrorism crimes."

Investigators do not have a suspect but have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. On Wednesday night, a group of armed volunteers were seen patrolling a neighborhood that parallels I-10, looking for the shooter, according to KNXV.

So far, no one has been seriously injured or killed but in one incident, a bullet shattered a windshield, cutting a 13-year-old girl, according to the Associated Press. "This is a real and continued threat to Arizona motorists," said Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, at a press conference on Tuesday.

AP reporters spoke with at least one Phoenix resident who said he has started consciously avoiding the freeway during his daily commute since the shootings started.

"I go through the streets when I go home," Juan Campana said.

Click here to see a full, detailed list of the Phoenix freeway shooting incidents.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.