DPS director: We still believe Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. is I-10 shooter

Apr 29, 2016, 12:25 PM

(Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)...

(Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)

(Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety still feels it captured the Interstate 10 shooter, despite the case against him being dismissed this week.

“I believe that we have enough evidence to develop probable cause that he (Leslie Allen Merritt Jr.) is the correct suspect,” DPS Director Frank Milstead said Friday at a memorial service for a trooper.

Milstead told the media that cases are dismissed without prejudice all the time.

“In law enforcement words, it’s just a request for more information,” he said.

Merritt’s attorneys said the case was botched because the DPS crime lab failed to ballistically link a weapon owned by Merritt to any of the freeway shootings, let alone the four he was charged with.

“I don’t think anything has gone wrong in the case,” Milstead said.

Milstead denied Friday that the case was botched, saying he has full faith in the crime lab that originally linked Merritt to the crimes.

“I have no reason …. to believe that the crime lab had done anything that was improper or incorrect,” he said, adding that lab is nationally accredited and follows standards used across the U.S.

Milstead also issued a simple “no” Friday when asked if he felt there was a rush to get a judgment in the case.

The state dropped its case against Merritt this week, something Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman Jerry Cobb brushed off.

“In conjunction with (DPS), we have identified additional forensic investigation that needs to be completed in order for the case to proceed,” Cobb said at the time.

Charges could be brought again in the case. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has said the case against Merritt will continue.

Merritt’s attorneys have asked the court to unseal documents in the case.

KTAR’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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DPS director: We still believe Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. is I-10 shooter