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Suspect in custody for shooting at cars along SR 87, roadway reopened

James David Walker is shown on the left (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photos)

PHOENIX — A good portion of State Route 87 north of Phoenix was closed Tuesday night after a man allegedly opened fire at multiple cars along the highway.

The suspect — 36-year-old James David Walker of San Tan Valley — was located and taken into custody early Wednesday morning after being found in the desert by a police helicopter. Walker had several guns, including an AR-15 rifle with ammunition, and body armor.

DPS said the bizarre series of crimes began unfolding when drivers called 911 saying a man fired at them with a rifle or “machine gun.”

The roadway between Phoenix and Payson was fully opened about 10:40 a.m.

Walker allegedly shot at least six cars, including an Arizona Department of Safety trooper. The trooper was not hit.

“This is an active investigation with additional victims whose cars were struck by bullets,” Capt. Damon Cecil, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said.

Two people were hit by gunfire and suffered minor injuries. One of the vehicles burst into flames. DPS has identified at least 13 victims.

At one point, Walker allegedly stole a car at gunpoint and fled the area. Officials lost track of him for about three hours until he was found by the helicopter.

DPS said Walker will be charged with aggravated assault, endangerment, attempted homicide, armed robbery, theft of a means of transportation and drug possession. More charges are pending.

Drivers from Payson and northern Arizona used SR 260 and Interstate 17 as alternate routes to reach the Phoenix area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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