Arizona law enforcement authorities said that a bullet hole found in a semi-trailer truck was the 11th such attack on interstates in the last two weeks. There are two additional possible shootings that occurred earlier this morning that are under investigation.
Officials are unsure if all the attacks are connected, or even if there is only one shooter involved.
Seven attacks have involved gunfire, and the others “projectiles” that have not been positively identified, a DPS spokesman said in an update Thursday afternoon. BB or pellet guns are suspected in at least three cases, officials said earlier.
Windows have been shattered and doors pierced, but no one has been hurt in the sniper attacks that began Aug. 29. Nonetheless, truckers and motorists are on edge.
In the latest confirmed shooting, a driver found a bullet hole while inspecting his tractor-trailer about 9:40 a.m. PT Thursday at a warehouse off eastbound I-10 at 83rd Avenue in west Phoenix, the DPS said. It’s not known when or where the truck was hit.
Just before 6 a.m. a motorist reported one of his windows was shattered, possibly by a BB or pellet, while he drove eastbound near 83rd Avenue, a DPS spokesman told the Republic.
Investigators were also checking a tractor-trailer around 11:30 a.m for a possible gunshot at a truck stop about 16 blocks away.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter or shooters.
In a statement Thursday, Gov. Doug Doucey said he was receiving updates from the head of the DPS, Col. Frank Milstead.
“The safety of Arizonans is our No. 1 priority, and we are committed to apprehending those responsible for these crimes,” Doucey said. “I ask all Arizonans to stay alert and contact authorities with any information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of responsible parties. I assure you, this is the top the priority for the Department of Public Safety and the state of Arizona.”
It sounds like one shooter began the rampage but there is now at least one copycat. Would someone who uses a rifle switch to a BB gun? That doesn’t sound likely.
These highway sniper attacks are beginning to occur with alarming regularity. At the end of August there were several attacks in southern Michigan. In the spring, there were a series of shootings on Colorado interstates. And last year, there were more than 20 shootings on Missouri highways.
The two worst cases involving highway snipers were in Ohio in 2003 when 24 attacks occurred, killing one driver. And the infamous 2002 Beltway snipers who gunned down 10 people and seriously wounded 3 before being arrested and convicted. John Allen Muhammad (then aged 42) and Lee Boyd Malvo (then aged 17) were tried, with Mohammad being sentenced to death and executed. Malvo is serving six consecutive life terms.
You hope they catch the Arizona sniper sooner rather than later before he kills someone.