A rash of vehicle shootings along a busy stretch of Interstate 10 leading to downtown Phoenix, Arizona, has alarmed police and left residents on edge for close to two weeks.
The latest two shootings occurred early Thursday morning, bringing to 12 the total number of incidents reported since August 29 on a roughly 10-mile stretch of eastbound I-10. In at least eight instances, vehicles were struck by bullets, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and one person was injured. Officials said the other vehicles were struck by "projectiles," but investigators have not yet determined if those were bullets.
On Thursday, the driver of a sedan called authorities at 5:55 a.m. from a Starbucks store to report his vehicle had been struck, said Bart Graves, the department's public information officer. Just a few hours later, at 9:40 a.m., a commercial vehicle driver told authorities that he saw "a hole in his vehicle" after driving through the same location, Graves said. It was later determined that the commercial vehicle was struck by a bullet.
In the last 13 days, vehicles have been struck at seemingly random times. Last Saturday, a car was hit by a bullet at 10:15 p.m. On Monday, a pickup truck was struck by a bullet at 4:30 a.m.
Though there have been no serious injuries, a 13-year-old girl suffered a minor cut to her right ear August 29 when a bullet struck the windshield of the SUV in which she was riding.
On Tuesday, an off-duty police sergeant told state troopers a bullet shattered his passenger side window.
DPS director Col. Frank Milstead characterized the shootings as "domestic terrorism."
"It's just a matter of time, if this continues, that we have tragedy on our roadways," Milstead said at a news conference Tuesday.
Authorities currently have no suspect or motive. Graves said his department is putting "all available resources in this investigation," including the use of unmarked vehicles, detectives working "around the clock," and the help of other federal agencies.