The Arizona Department of Public Safety addressed the media and offered an update after an off duty Phoenix police officer was possibly shot at on the Interstate 10 Tuesday morning.
DPS said they are looking into 9 incidents connected to the Valley freeway shootings that have happened in the last 10 days.
The officer said he was driving his own car to work around 5:20 a.m. when a side window shattered. The unidentified sergeant said he was near the 35th Avenue exit.
Another incident with another car happened at the same time. The sergeant’s vehicle was going eastbound while the other vehicle was westbound, DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said.
“They’re within one minute of each other, and both vehicles were hit on the driver side, passenger window by a projectile. I would call that related,” said Milstead.
Milstead expressed continued concern over these shootings on the I-10 in the second conference he has held since the shootings began more than a week ago. There is no set pattern of time of day a shooting has occurred, and Milstead there is a possibility a copycat could be involved.
“Right now there is a real and continuing threat to Arizona motorists…This is a paramount priority for the Arizona Department of Public Safety and our law enforcement partners,” Milstead said. “The DPS has recast all of our available assets to this investigation.”
Milstead said DPS has partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI as well as Phoenix and Tempe Police Departments to further this investigation. He said the investigation and efforts are continuing around the clock around the highways and at their Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center. There is also overt and covert surveillance on the freeways and around areas of the I-10.
Milstead has been very open with the public and said he needs their eyes and ears right now to solve this case and protect drivers on the state’s most traveled freeway. There is now a $20,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people involved in this crime.
“Somebody knows and somebody was there. I need you to call our watch center,” said Milstead.
The state Silent Witness program originally offered $5,000, but the reward was upped Tuesday after the sergeant was possibly targeted.
“It’s just an amount of time if this behavior continues that we have tragedy on our roadways,” Milstead said.
Please call 602-644-5805 with information.
KTAR’s Cooper Rummell contributed to this story.
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