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Police Detain Two People in Connection to Phoenix Highway Shootings

Image source: KPNX-TV

PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities detained two people for questioning Friday in a series of freeway shootings that have rattled Phoenix over the past two weeks.

Police were at a convenience store near Interstate 10, focusing on a white SUV. Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves confirmed the people were being questioned but gave no more details.

Image source: KPNX-TV

Eleven cars have been shot since Aug. 29, eight with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets. One girl's face was cut by glass as a bullet shattered her window.

The search for suspects has grown more intense with each shooting, as a panicked public avoided the freeways and flooded a police hotline with tips.

Authorities appealed for help through social media, news conferences, TV interviews and freeway billboards, whose messages morphed from "report suspicious activity" to "shooting tips" to the more ominous "I-10 shooter tip line."

Many of the thousands of tips proved to be false leads based on road hazards routine in Arizona, like windshields cracked by loose rocks sent airborne by the tires of other vehicles.

On Thursday alone, drivers reported possible shootings of an armored truck, two cars and two tractor-trailers. Authorities and TV crews scrambled to these scenes, only to discover minor damage.

The shootings haven't fit any obvious pattern. Most happened on Interstate 10, a main route through Phoenix. Bullets have been fired at various times of the day, striking a seemingly random assortment of vehicles, from an empty bus to tractor-trailers to pickup trucks, cars and SUVs.

Helicopters have been flying up and down Interstate 10 as officers scan a wall of TV monitors carrying live surveillance video from every freeway in the metropolitan area. The FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the hunt.

"We have a number of officers ... both uniformed, non-uniformed, plainclothes, undercover vehicles, marked vehicles on the road patrolling, looking for the suspect, looking for leads," Graves said Thursday.

Longtime residents still remember the random shootings that terrorized Phoenix a decade ago. Nearly 30 people were shot then, and eight killed, including a cyclist who was riding down the street and a man who was sleeping at a bus stop. Two men were eventually caught and convicted.

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