PHOENIX -The Maricopa County Attorney’s office has filed 16 felony counts against Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr., 21, in connection with a recent series of shootings on Interstate 10 in Phoenix, reports CBS affiliate KPHO. He is expected to make an initial appearance in court Saturday, September 19, 2015, a day after he was arrested at a Wal-Mart in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb west of Phoenix.
On Wednesday, County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a news release, “I understand the frustration by some with respect to the limited amount of information released by the Department of Public Safety to date”.
PHOENIX (AP) – Prosecutors announced formal charges Wednesday against a 21-year-old man suspected in some of the freeway shootings that have rattled the Phoenix area.
Your Tuesday editorial (“Freeway shootings arrest solves nothing“) wisely brought up the 1991 Buddhist Temple murders and its totally botched police investigation with the subsequent arrest of three innocent young men.
That puts Merritt’s pawning of his gun after the four shootings he’s charged with committing.
Ducey was nearly immediately criticized for implying that Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. was guilty of the shootings before he had even been booked into jail or appeared in court.
Authorities haven’t named any suspects in the other shootings, and have said some of the incidents may have been the work of copycats.
“My gun’s been in the pawn shop the last two months”, Merritt told the judge. But the suspect says that police have got the wrong guy, and even authorities admit that they can only tie Merritt to four of the 11 total shootings.
Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves told reporters then that officials were not “going to get into a debate” with Merritt. Three other shootings on August. 29 had been thought to be the first in 11 incidents. Police say a gun belonging to him but which was pawned has been matched to bullet fragments in the four shootings. Only one person has been injured, a girl who was cut by shattered glass while she was riding in her family’s vehicle.
Investigators say their crime lab tested a gun that Merritt Junior pawned.
Merritt is scheduled for a court status conference Friday, but that hearing could be canceled if prosecutors seek a formal indictment.