Milstead: Weapon used in I-10 shootings ‘forensically linked’ to suspect in custody

Sep 18, 2015, 7:09 PM | Updated: 10:14 pm
Suspected I-10 shooter, Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. being taken into custody. (Twitter photo/@12News)...
Suspected I-10 shooter, Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. being taken into custody. (Twitter photo/@12News)
(Twitter photo/@12News)

First reported via tweet from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona Department of Public Safety officials announced Friday night that they have apprehended an individual suspected in the Interstate 10 shootings.  Daniel Scarpinato, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for Governor Ducey, confirmed the suspect in custody is Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr.

A press conference lasting no more than five minutes at DPS headquarters was held at 9:00 Friday evening to announce Merritt’s arrest.

“Tonight we have made an arrest in the I-10 shootings that occurred on August 29, that day, and on the morning of August 31, 2015,” DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said.  “The subject is in custody because the weapon that he owned is forensically linked to these crimes.

“Right now we know that he is related to the first four shootings due to the weapon that he owned being involved in those shootings.”

According to Milstead, it is possible that other copycats remain at large, but he declined to offer further details on the investigation, which continues to be ongoing despite the arrest of their suspect.

Milstead also made a point to commend law enforcement officials, as well the people of Arizona, for their help in ultimately apprehending Merritt.

“Tonight does not happen without a lot of effort from a lot of very hard-working men and women,” Milstead said.  “The collaborative efforts of Arizona law enforcement could not be any more clearly defined than by this case tonight.

“Arizonans have been incredible in their efforts to provide us leads and tips.  I cannot tell you how much it inspires me to lead a police organization in a state where the community has such trust for their law enforcement as they do in Arizona.”

Ducey echoed Milstead’s words in a statement release shortly following the conclusion of the DPS press conference.

“I applaud the excellent work done by our state troopers, SWAT team, investigators, Col. Milstead and all the law enforcement agencies who partnered to identify this suspect and apprehend him. This was no easy case, but our law enforcement officials worked night and day from the moment these shootings began to get to the bottom of it and protect Arizona citizens. Let it be clear — those who endanger the lives of Arizona residents will pay the consequences and be prosecuted with the full force of the law.”

On Friday, unrelated charges were dropped against 19-year-old Oscar De La Torre Munoz, a person of interest in the Phoenix I-10 shootings.


Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)...
SuElen Rivera

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer not interested in state GOP chair role

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she has been pursued as a potential successor to Kelli Ward as Arizona GOP chair, but she's not interested in the job.
9 hours ago
In the first half of 2019, more than 3.27million pedestrians crossed frmo Mexico to the U.S. throug...
SuElen Rivera

Santa Cruz County sheriff, who oversees Nogales, believes ‘there is no invasion’ at the southern border

Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway said on Wednesday he doesn't believe there is an invasion at the southern Arizona border.
9 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Downtown Mesa)...

Inaugural Beards and Brews Booze Crawl coming to downtown Mesa on Saturday

Get in the holiday spirit this weekend with a new pub crawl in downtown Mesa this Saturday called Beards and Brews Booze Crawl.
9 hours ago
(City of Phoenix Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix boosts lifeguard pay incentive to $3,000 for 2023 pool season

After only having enough staff to open about half of its pools in 2022, the city of Phoenix is upping its incentive to lifeguards for next year.
9 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City Government of Chandler, Arizona)...

Chandler City Council approves policy to prohibit acts of discrimination

The Chandler City Council voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits discrimination during Monday’s meeting.
1 day ago
(Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Execution warrant requested for Arizona death row inmate

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has requested the state Supreme Court issue a warrant of execution for death row inmate Aaron Gunches.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Milstead: Weapon used in I-10 shootings ‘forensically linked’ to suspect in custody