The Arizona Department of Public Safety raised the reward to $50,000 for information on the Interstate 10 shooter but Phoenix metro commuters remain cautious of traveling on the highway.
Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead said that they are still actively searching for the individual responsible.
A total of 11 shooting incidents have been reported since Aug. 29 on I-10. Commuters driving on the highway say they’re leery of using the roadway while the shooter remains at-large. Despite assurances from DPS, travelers remain on edge.
Jessica Cherubini, 36, is a mother that lives in Chandler and works as a health and wellness supervisor. She says she has stopped driving on the I-10 because of the shootings.
“I’m just extremely concerned for my family’s safety and I have little children and it really freaks me out,” Cherubini stated.
She mentioned that she also has a son that plays football for Hamilton High School. The school no longer allows buses to travel on I-10 for away games as a result of the recent shootings.
Jay Spain, 62, works in information technology in downtown Phoenix and commutes daily. He changes his route to work whenever reports of a shooting arise.
“I’m just very careful. I observe and I try to understand what areas are most likely [targeted] and I try to avoid those areas,” Spain said.
Sue Callahan, 63, lives in north central Phoenix and uses I-10 to travel to her job at Arizona State University. She is concerned about the possibility of another shooting but believes police will eventually find the suspect.
“It makes me a little nervous but I’m confidant he’ll make a mistake at some point and then he’ll get caught,” Callahan stated.
Milstead also mentioned the department will remain in full force on highways. He said even with heightened levels of security and search efforts, the department is still operating within their budget. However, if budgetary spending is exceeded, he is willing to go before the state legislature to defend his decision.
Even with increased police presence, the possible shooting near I-10 and Elliot Road were too close for comfort for Lisa Mansueto, 47. She is a surgeon, living in Chandler and commutes on I-10 about three times a week.
“My office is on I-10 and Warner, so it makes me a little concerned obviously about driving,”
It is still unknown if some of the shootings are connected or executed by multiple individuals.
“We have some bullet strikes, we have some projectile strikes and we have what we believe is road rage. The only way for us to know whether they are connected is to investigate them as if they are, and talk about them as a lump sum,” Milstead told the press.
DPS believes that the slingshot incidents are separate from shootings involving bullets. Milstead stated they are still investigating the three teenagers involved.
Nearly 1,000 tips have been reported to DPS and officials are actively investigating 550 of them.
Mike Woodard, 56, works as market researcher for the major electric provider Arizona Public Service. He feels that the shooter is enjoying the publicity. Although, he believes the information to catch the shooter and end fear for Arizonans is out there.
“Somebody knows something about this, so hopefully they’ll come forward,” Woodard said.