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Man who shot at cars on highway near Phoenix gets 30-year sentence

James David Walker wreaked havoc on State Route 87 drivers in 2016. (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photos)

PHOENIX – A man who pleaded guilty to shooting up passing cars on a highway northeast of Phoenix two years ago was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday.

In October, James David Walker, 38, of San Tan Valley entered a guilty plea in Maricopa County Superior Court on 15 counts of aggravated assault and two counts of armed robbery related to the incident.

On May 24, 2016, police responded to multiple calls of drivers saying a man fired at them with a rifle or a machine gun on the stretch of State Route 87 between Phoenix and Payson known as the Beeline Highway.

Two people were hit by gunfire and suffered minor injuries. One of the vehicles burst into flames. The Arizona Department of Public Safety identified at least 13 victims.

Walker stole a car at gunpoint and fled the area. Officials lost track of him for about three hours until he was found in the desert the next morning by a police helicopter and taken into custody.

Police say they later found several guns, body armor, magazines, a hypodermic needle and a clear plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance near the area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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