A sign displays a shooter tip hotline above Interstate 10 in Phoenix on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Authorities on Friday were questioning two people in a string of freeway shootings over the past two weeks that have rattled Phoenix and led to a massive search for suspects.(Photo: Patrick Breen, AP)
It’s one of the most difficult and frightening crimes to combat: random shots fired at unsuspecting motorists on a crowded highway.
But the person responsible for the recent spate of Phoenix-area highway shootings that have shattered windows and pierced doors in 11 cars in two weeks likely fits a mold of a narcissist, mentally unstable individual who can be collared with community involvement and media cooperation, law enforcement and criminal psychology experts said.
Random bullets fired by snipers are among the most terrifying in American history. The 2002 Beltway sniper attacks killed 10 and gripped the Washington, D.C. metro region in fear. In 2012, a mentally disturbed man terrorized motorists along the I-96 corridor in Michigan, shooting at at least 23 cars he believed were part of a government conspiracy.
The gunmen were eventually caught but they left unforgettable images of innocent people locked in the crosshairs of a sniper’s scope.
Arizona Department of Public Safety agents on Friday were questioning one person in relation to the recent shootings that have occurred mostly along an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 10 in Phoenix. Seven of the attacks have involved gunfire and the others have been “projectile” and not positively identified, according to DPS. No one so far has been seriously injured in the shootings.
Motorists are on edge.
Steven Smith, 25, altered the 26-mile route from his home in Surprise, Ariz., to his job at the Liberty Fuel truck stop, near where some of the latest shootings took place, to avoid stretches of Interstate 10. When he got there, he text his girlfriend to assure her he was OK.
“It’s definitely something you think about,” he said, “especially when traffic is moving pretty slow.”
The shootings have brought eerie reminders of a 15-month shooting spree in the Phoenix area in 2005 and 2006 that killed eight people and terrorized motorists. Two men, Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman, were convicted of firing shots at 25 motorists, killing eight of them.
They attacks have also summoned comparisons with the October 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, a three-week crime spree in the Washington, Virginia and Maryland area. John Allen Muhammed, 42 at the time, was executed for his role, …Read More