Authorities are on the lookout for someone who has been firing at vehicular traffic in a string of shootings in and near Phoenix, Arizona, over the past two weeks.
A bullet pierced the side of a tractor-trailer on a Phoenix freeway Thursday, and police said they were treating it as the 11th attack in a string of shootings over the past two weeks that have terrorized drivers.
The governor pleaded for the public’s help earlier Thursday, and authorities said they could be dealing with more than one gunman.
The bullet hole in the semi was reported Thursday morning, and police were checking out at least one other report that could be related, a projectile that damaged the window of a car.
In less than two weeks, 10 other shootings have been reported on or near Interstate 10. Seven have been bullet strikes, and the others were unspecified projectiles, which could mean BBs or pellets.
Police say drivers have been lucky so far: The only injury was a 13-year-old girl who was cut by flying glass when the window of her car was shattered by a bullet.
ABC is now putting the count at 12 struck vehicles. The media is of course salivating over the incidents, and attempting to compare the Phoenix shooter or shooters with the infamous “Beltway Snipers”* who killed 17 and wounded 10 in an eight-month nationwide crime spree that culminated in three weeks of shootings in and around Washington, DC before the suspects were captured.
Numerous “gun experts” are being consulted by local media to discuss the most recent series of crimes, and their commentary ranges from inconsistent to idiotic.
Here’s what we actually know, without speculation.
There have been a total of 12 vehicles reportedly struck by objects.
To date, forensic teams have recovered fragments for bullets in seven of the 12 alleged incidents. In the other fives cases, the projectile was either not recovered, or could not be confirmed as a bullet.
There have been no serious injures.
To date, the only injured has been from a single passenger struck by flying glass.
We do not know how many shooters there are.
Some of the fragments recovered suggest a conventional firearm, while others have made impact marks more consistent with pellets, BBs, and other lower-power projectiles. This suggests either a shooter using multiple firearms, or there are multiple shooters. All authorities can confirm is that there isn’t a consistent single weapon being used across all the reported events.
We do not know the number of shots fired, or the total number of vehicles struck.
Just because there are a number of vehicles that have been hit, it doesn’t mean that every bullet fired struck a target, or even if it was struck, if the strike was necessarily discovered, and if discovered, reported.
We have no idea if we’re dealing with skilled marksmen, or incompetent hacks.
We could be dealing with relatively competent criminals who can hit a moving vehicle with nearly every shot as a result of their skill, or we might dealing with someone who is relatively incompetent who is firing and missing frequently, or, we might be dealing with someone who is firing at targets at such an angle or of such size that they’re almost impossible to completely the miss.
* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers.