Three teenagers who admitted to shooting projectiles at windows of passing vehicles have been arrested by Arizona police. However, the incidents have not been connected with the series of shootings that have terrorized the state’s freeway.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the three teenagers, all 18-year-olds, admitted that they fired projectiles by slingshots during a period of four hours Saturday evening. The license plate of the car the teenagers were in was recorded by two of the victims traveling in the car whose window was shattered by a projectile. Arpaio further said that despite the severity of the incidents, they don’t present any connection with the 11 other confirmed incidents wherein vehicles traveling on Arizona’s freeways have been struck by bullets or other projectiles.
The suspects have been identified as Aaron Nottingham, 18; Albert German, 18; and Christian Cook, 18. They face charges of assault, endangerment and criminal damage, as reported by CBC News.
“We feel that this is probably a copycat,” Arpaio said.
Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said, “What the kids were doing last night was absolutely lethal. None of this is fun and games. It’s all very serious.”
The series of shootings at the nearby Interstate-10 freeway started August 29. A 13-year-old was injured when the bullet smashed the windshield of an SUV. As reported by ABC News, a tour bus was also struck in a separate incident. The shootings have been reported along an eight-mile stretch, according to the police. Milstead said the incidents were acts of “domestic terrorism.”
“All of these acts are potentially lethal encounters,” Milstead said. “When you’re shooting into a moving vehicle with unwitting occupants, (it could be) lethal.”
As previously reported by Morning News USA, the incidents bring back haunting memories of the 2002 shootings, which led to the deaths of 10 people, in Washington D.C. The perpetrator in the case, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009. His accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is serving life in prison without possibility of parole.
On Friday, a 19-year-old man from a Phoenix suburb was detained from a convenience store near Interstate 10. While he has been detained as a person of interest, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves did not offer an explanation as to why the suspect was taken in for questioning. Graves said that the man was being questioned “about a number of things” other than the freeway shootings, but did not elaborate on the details.
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