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Fatal shooting part of increasing number of road rage cases in Phoenix

PHOENIX – The apparent road rage-related shooting death of a child this week had put Phoenix on pace to surpass in a few months the number of similar incidents that previously took three years to compile.

Joshua Gonzalez, 20, was arrested Friday and charged with the murder of a 10-year-old girl. He was suspected of having followed her family home after a traffic encounter earlier in the week. She and her father were shot in their car after they had pulled into their driveway near 39th Avenue and Roosevelt Street.

ABC15 reported it would be the seventh road-rage related crime of the year and second fatality.

A teenager was killed after he accidentally cut off another driver and was shot, Glendale police said in February.

There were 11 road-rage incidents with guns in the Valley between 2014-2017, according to nonprofit Trace, which tracks gun violence in the United States.

Alberto Gutier, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said in the first half of 2018, DPS troopers had checked the box marked “possible road rage” on crash report forms between 120 and 130 times. That didn’t necessarily mean they were all road rage, he added.

Road rage, is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway,” according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

A 2016 survey from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said 8 million American drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.

“We do get a lot of those (aggressive driver) calls. Unfortunately, we don’t actually track that particular call,” DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes.

But if a call is more specific, “if there’s a crime we think was committed, we’ll follow up and do more work on that license plate,” he said.

The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website pointed out the state was one of only 11 that had laws targeting aggressive driving.

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