Suspected Phoenix Freeway Shooter Maintains His Innocence

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Suspected Phoenix Freeway Shooter Maintains His Innocence

In a brief court appearance on Saturday, Leslie Allen Merritt Jr., a 21-year-old landscaper charged in connection with a series of 11 shootings that took place along a freeway in Arizona earlier this month, maintained his innocence: “All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy,” he said.

Charged with aggravated assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, carrying out a drive-by shooting and intentional acts of terrorism, the Associated Press reports that Superior Court Commissioner Lisa Roberts set bail at $1 million. “The suspect presents a dramatic and profound threat to the community,” said Maricopa County attorney’s Ed Leiter.

After bail was set, Merritt asked to address the court. “All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy. I tried telling the detectives that,” he said. “My gun’s been in the pawn shop the last two months. I haven’t even had access to a weapon.”

But, according to the AP, charging documents released late on Saturday by the Maricopa Superior Court reveal that investigators determined Merritt had not in fact pawned his gun at the time of the shootings.

Over the course of three weeks, 11 vehicles driving along a Phoenix freeway were struck by bullets or other pellets, such as BBs or pellets. The only person who was hurt was a 13-year-old girl whose ear was cut by shattered glass. Merritt was charged in connection with the first four of the shootings; the investigation into the remainder is ongoing.


Photo credit: AP Images. Contact the author of this post: brendan.oconnor@gawker.com.

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