A 19-year-old Arizona man, described by authorities as a person of interest in a spate of recent highway shootings, appeared in court on an unrelated charge for possession of illegal substances on Saturday, Reuters is reporting.
The suspect, Oscar De La Torre Munoz, of Avondale, Arizona, is being questioned in connection with an investigation into 11 vehicle shootings that have occurred since August on Phoenix highways. The head of Arizona's state police officials have described these cases as "domestic terrorism" and is still investigating whether they are related.
Mr. De La Torre Munoz and the woman he was with were both detained for questioning, but the woman was soon released. A store clerk, Sara Kaur, told AP that she sold De La Torre Munoz cigarettes before his arrest. She described him as a regular customer and said she's "never had a problem with him."
Only one person has been injured, but the city of Phoenix is still on edge. A message board on the stretch of I-10 where the shootings have occurred asks drivers to send information to a tip line, but most of the tips turned out to be false leads. Muddying the waters, windshields in Arizona are frequently cracked by loose rocks kicked up by other drivers' tires – but anxious drivers are reporting them as attacks.
De La Torre Munoz has denied any involvement in the shootings.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said Friday that he believes there is more than one shooter involved.
"It does not appear to be the same guy," Mr. Milstead told The Arizona Republic. "I think we have three MOs. We have one that looks like road rage, we have the bullet ones, we have the projectile ones.’’
DPS has confirmed 11 attacks since August 29, including eight vehicles struck by bullets and three struck by unspecified projectiles.
"The investigation is moving forward," DPS spokesman Bart Graves told the Associated Press. "Authorities aren’t concerned about the public growing complacent now that someone has been questioned.”