An Arizona phantom skulks along freeways randomly shooting into vehicles, getting an adrenaline rush or satisfying some dark compulsion. As described by the Arizona Republic, “There is no clear purpose or pattern. No witnesses with suspect descriptions. Little physical evidence.” That’s the challenge facing a “massive” team of law officers as they work around the clock to identify and stop a serial shooter, or shooters. Investigators have documented at least 11 incidents in two weeks, 12 days, mostly along a stretch of Interstate 10 in west Phoenix. They apparently have no idea who is responsible.
Detectives are relying on a vast arsenal of crime-solving tools, from FBI profilers to gunshot locators to a computer program that sorts and analyzes tips. With few clues and no suspects, outside experts say the crime is likely to remain unsolved until whoever is responsible blunders, or police get lucky. “These cases are usually solved, believe it or not, by a tip,” said Jim McNamara, a former FBI supervisor at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. Peter Vronsky, an author on serial crimes, said, “Eventually, somehow and somewhere, he’s going to make a mistake. Just hope he makes it sooner than later.” Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said he believes there are multiple shooters involved because of distinct factors. “It does not appear to be the same guy,” he said. “I think we have three MOs.”